Watch for OPTR after the bell, the stock is still halted. Merck and Inspire enter agreement. Print E-mail
By Staff   
Tuesday, 05 April 2011 19:32
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on April 05, 2011.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq:OPTR) Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff said the drug was effective in fighting an infection that causes a life-threatening diarrhea.  The FDA is expected to give its decision on the drug by May 30. A positive vote by the panel does not guarantee an approval, but the agency usually follows panel recommendations.  The advisory panel of 13 independent experts voted unanimously that the drug was effective but said there were concerns regarding the drug's use in pregnant women and children.  However, the panel was divided on whether the oral drug, fidaxomicin, was also effective in lowering the risks of recurrence of infection-related diarrhea.

Merck (NYSE:MRK), and Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISPH) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Merck will acquire Inspire, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing ophthalmic products.  Under the terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will commence a tender offer for all outstanding common stock of Inspire at a price of $5.00 per share in cash, a 26 percent premium to the closing price of Inspire’s common stock on April 4, 2011. The transaction has a total cash value of approximately $430 million.
ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA) today announced results of preclinical studies on ponatinib, its investigational pan-BCR-ABL inhibitor, showing potent inhibition of all four members of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family of tyrosine kinases that are abnormally expressed in multiple cancers. ARIAD scientists are presenting the data this morning at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. 
Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:NBIX) announced today that it has completed the dosing and preliminary assessment of the initial cohort of Tardive Dyskinesia patients using its proprietary Vesicular Monoamine Transporter 2 inhibitor (VMAT2), NBI-98854. Based on this data, the Company is initiating the Investigational New Drug (IND) application process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  "We are very pleased with these preliminary results from our VMAT2 Phase IIa study," said Christopher F. O'Brien, Chief Medical Officer of Neurocrine Biosciences.  "Over the twelve days of treatment with our VMAT2 inhibitor, subjects showed a marked improvement in abnormal hyperkinetic movements. The drug was generally well tolerated and showed the desired pharmacokinetic profile previously demonstrated in two Phase I studies."
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:PPHM), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer and viral infections, today announced that its phosphatidylserine (PS)-targeting antibody significantly enhanced the anti-tumor effects of sorafenib (Nexavar®) in models of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with 69% less tumor growth compared to sorafenib alone. This study, one of four poster presentations on Peregrine's PS-targeting antibodies at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), was the basis for initiating a Phase I/II investigator-sponsored trial (IST) evaluating the company's lead antibody bavituximab with sorafenib in patients with advanced HCC. Bavituximab is currently in three randomized Phase II clinical trials in lung cancer and pancreatic cancer and several ISTs for additional oncology indications.
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:SNSS) and The Takeda Oncology Company today announced a license agreement for the development of Sunesis' oral, selective pan-Raf kinase inhibitor and one additional undisclosed kinase inhibitor program in oncology.  These programs were part of Sunesis' 2004 multi-kinase inhibitor collaboration with Biogen Idec. Following Biogen Idec's November 2010 announcement to focus on neurology and spin out or out license its oncology assets, Millennium acquired two of these oncology assets and will continue the development of these in collaboration with Sunesis. Biogen Idec and Sunesis are continuing a separate collaboration focused on a unique preclinical kinase inhibitor program involved in immunology.  "We are very excited to be working with Millennium, a company that focuses on developing first-in-class and best-in-class oncology compounds," stated Daniel Swisher, Chief Executive Officer of Sunesis. "We look forward to Millennium's transition of the pan-Raf kinase investigational agent into clinical studies, while we continue to focus our resources and attention on our ongoing Phase 3 VALOR trial for vosaroxin in AML."

Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) announced today that it has earned a $15 million payment from Novartis based on the achievement of a predefined milestone in an ongoing Phase I dose- escalation trial for INCB28060 (also known as INC280) in patients with solid tumors. This trial is being conducted by Incyte as part of its worldwide collaboration and license agreement with Novartis under which Incyte exclusively licensed worldwide rights to INCB28060 to Novartis.

Earlier Tuesday:

Altitude Organic Corporation (PINKSHEETS: AMNG), a national, publicly-traded medical marijuana company, announced the company has signed up three potential dispensary owners in Arizona wishing to open their own Altitude Organic Medicine dispensaries.

Chembio Diagnostics, Inc. (OTCBB: CEMI) ("Chembio" or the "Company") has been notified that Bio-Manguinhos, a division of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation of Brazil ("FIOCRUZ"), has received regulatory approval from Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply ("MAPA") to market Chembio's Dual Path Platform (DPP®) visceral canine leishmania ("VL") rapid test for use with whole blood, serum and plasma.

Daxor Corporation (NYSE Amex: DXR), a medical instrumentation and biotechnology company, today announced the publication of a research article entitled "Blood Volume Analysis Can Distinguish True Anemia from Hemodilution in Critically Ill Patients" in the Journal of Trauma (2011; 70:646-651).

Global NuTech, Inc. (OTCBB: BOCL) ( announced today that one of its distributors, Enzyme BioScience Labs, now has a new website for on-line sales of Cell Guard™ Antioxidant Enzyme Supplement products.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PPHM), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer and viral infections, today announced that its phosphatidylserine (PS)-targeting antibody significantly enhanced the anti-tumor effects of sorafenib (Nexavar®) in models of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), with 69% less tumor growth compared to sorafenib alone.

Today SK3 Group, Inc. (PINKSHEETS:SKTO) announces that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Northwood's Village Assisted Living, LLC of Tomahawk, Wisconsin.

Unity Management Group, Inc. (PINKSHEETS:UYMG) "UNITY" (or the "Company") is a Health Resource Company specializing in Physician, and Hospital Practice Management, Business Services, Billing Software and Technologies, along with Pharmacy Instrumentation, Calibration, Data Acquisition, and Equipment Distribution.

David H. Fater, CEO of Vicor Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:VCRT), today announced that on March 30, 2011 the Company submitted its response to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inquiries concerning its 510(k) premarket notification for its PD2i® nonlinear algorithm and software to be used in cardiovascular disease testing.

"Featured Content" profiles are meant to provide awareness of these companies to investors in the small-cap and growth equity community and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy, sell or hold these securities. BiomedReports is not paid or compensated by newswires to disseminate or report news and developments about publicly traded companies, but may from time to time receive compensation for advertising, data, analytics and investor relation services from various entities and firms. Full disclosures should be read in the 'About Us Section'.

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