Astrazeneca shares fall on flat Crestor results. Pfizer To Benefit From FDA Approval of Lung Cancer Drug. Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 02 September 2011 19:03
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on September 2, 2011.

AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN)'s attempt to prove its top-selling drug, Crestor, works better than rival cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor, appears to have backfired.

A study meant to show AstraZeneca's cholesterol drug Crestor prevents plaque buildup in heart arteries better than Pfizer Inc.'s Lipitor showed no clear advantage for Crestor.

Two generic versions of Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug for several years, are expected to hit the U.S. market on Nov. 30. Analysts wrote Friday that the study result will make it hard for the British drugmaker to argue patients would fare better on its Crestor than on much-cheaper generic versions of Lipitor.

The study, known by the acronym SATURN, followed about 1,300 high-risk patients with hardening of the arteries, which can cause strokes or heart attacks, for two years. About half got a daily 40-milligram dose of Crestor, known generically as rosuvastatin, and the rest got a daily 80-milligram dose of Lipitor, known generically as atorvastatin.

AstraZeneca said preliminary results indicated Crestor showed a greater percentage reduction in the volume of plaque in the coronary artery -- the study's main goal -- but that the difference was not statistically significant, meaning it could have occurred by chance. The study did produce a statistically significant reduction in a secondary goal, reduction of total plaque volume.

AstraZeneca shares fell $1.61 or 3.5 percent, to close at $45.08. The company released preliminary study results earlier in the day.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Jeffrey Holford wrote that the data didn't provide a clear positive result that AstraZeneca could have used to continue arguing Crestor is superior to Lipitor.


Xalkori, a drug for the treatment of lung cancer in a small percent of sufferers being developed by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) has received accelerated approval to fast-track its release. The drug treats a rare form of advanced-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) which affects less than 7 percent of the 187,000 patients diagnosed with NSCLC every year.

Xalkoriis used as a treatment for NSCLC suffers who are ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase)-positive. Although this condition affects only a small group of lung cancer patients who number roughly 6,500 to 11,000 every year, initial estimates are that the drug can bring in close to $2.5 billion in annual sales. The drug has the potential to be used to treat other types of cancer, and trials are underway to study its effects on other patients.

If the FDA approves Xalkori for other forms of cancer, it could very well become a block-buster drug for Pfizer. The company is looking for its next big drug. Lipitor, its popular blood cholesterol treatment, loses its patent protection next month. Lipitor is responsible for close to a quarter of Pfizer's annual sales and is the world's best-selling drug.

Also Friday:

Amerigroup Corporation (NYSE: AGP) is working with hundreds of physicians in six states on a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) pilot program that is helping doctors improve access and quality of care for their patients.

Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) will present at the Stifel Nicolaus Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Boston, Mass., beginning at 8:35 a.m. Eastern Time.

Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) is scheduled to participate in the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference on September 14 in New York.

Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRIS), a drug development company seeking to develop next generation targeted small molecule drug candidates for cancer treatment, today announced that the Company will be presenting at the Rodman & Renshaw 13th Annual Healthcare Conference at 2:25 p.m. EDT on September 12, 2011, in New York City.

D. Medical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ:DMED) (TASE:DMED) ("D. Medical" or the "Company"), a medical device company engaged through its subsidiaries in the research, development, manufacture and sale of innovative products for diabetes treatment and drug delivery, today announced that Amir Loberman, the Company's Chief Financial Officer, will present an update on the Company's business at the Rodman & Renshaw Annual Global Investment Conference on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (NYSE: RDY) announced the initiation of dosing with DRL-17822 in patients with diagnosis of type II dyslipidemia.

Exact Sciences Corp. (Nasdaq: EXAS) today announced that it will present at three upcoming investor conferences.

EnteroMedics Inc. (NASDAQ: ETRM), the developer of medical devices using neuroblocking technology to treat obesity, metabolic diseases, and other gastrointestinal disorders, today announced that data from the Company's VBLOC-DM2 ENABLE (DM2) trial evaluating the Company's second generation Maestro RC System in the treatment of obesity, diabetes and hypertension, was presented at the XVI World Congress of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO), held August 31 to September 3 in Hamburg, Germany.

Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) announced today that Michael Morrissey, PhD, the company’s president and chief executive officer, will present at the Stifel Nicolaus Healthcare Conference at 4:25 p.m. EDT / 1:25 p.m. PDT on Thursday, September 8, 2011, in Boston.

Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co., Inc. (NASDAQ: HITK) announced that the Company will release results for its first quarter of Fiscal Year 2012 ended July 31, 2011, prior to the market opening on Wednesday September 7, 2011 and will hold a conference call to discuss its financial results at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Hooper Holmes (NYSE Amex:HH) has been announced as the official screening sponsor at The Forum 11, the leading conference in wellness, prevention and chronic care management, September 7 to 9, in San Francisco, CA.

Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: HGSI) announced today that its presentation at Baird's 2011 Health Care Conference will be webcast and may be accessed at

InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. (OTCBB:NVIV), a company focused on the development of groundbreaking technologies for the treatment of spinal cord injuries (SCI), today announced that the company will hold a conference call on September 8th at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time during which Frank Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer, will provide a business update.

Medical Marijuana Inc (OTC: MJNA) is pleased to announce that studies have proven Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Anti-Tumor and Anti-Cancer agent.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX) today announced that it will present at two healthcare conferences in September.

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 it will report financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 on September 9, 2011 before market open and will host a conference call and webcast at 11:30 AM EDT (8:30 AM PDT).

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) (“Pfizer”) and Icagen, Inc. (NASDAQ: ICGN) (“Icagen”) announced today that Pfizer’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Eclipse Acquisition Corp. (“Eclipse”), has extended the expiration date of its tender offer for all outstanding shares of common stock of Icagen for $6.00 per share, paid to the seller in cash, without interest thereon, less any applicable withholding and transfer taxes.

Response Biomedical Corporation (TSX:RBM, OTCBB:RPBIF) today announced that Roche Diagnostics has terminated, effective September 30, 2011, the sales and distribution agreement between Roche and Response dated June 25, 2008.

Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (NASDAQ: SIAL) will be presenting at the following investor conferences in September.

SuperGen, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUPG), a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer therapies, announced it anticipates that it will begin operating under the name Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on September 12, 2011.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX) (TSX: VRX) today announced that certain members of its senior management team will be participating at the following conferences.

"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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