Archive for the ‘Health Care Stocks’ Category

Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ANDS) soars on buyout news

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Shares of biopharmaceutical company, Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDS) surged more than 250 percent from Friday’s closing price in morning trading on Monday after the San Diego-based company announced a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by pharmaceutical giant Roche for $3.70 per share, or about $230 million.

“With Roche’s considerable capabilities and experience in HCV, we believe this acquisition provides the best chance of success for the new potential treatments to reach patients,” said Steve Worland, Ph.D., President and CEO of Anadys in an October 17 press release.

Anadys shares touched a high of $3.67, up from Friday’s closing price of $1.04.

Anadys currently has two hepatitis C drug candidates in clinical trials. Last week, the company announced that a mid-stage trial of its hepatitis C drug, setrobuvir, showed promise, Reuters reported. Setrobuvir, a direct-acting antiviral that works by interacting with and blocking a component of the virus, is in mid-stage trials.

“We are pleased with today’s data, which we believe demonstrate a compelling profile for setrobuvir in significantly more patients,” Worland said in an October 13 press release.

Anadys’ other hepatitis C drug, ANA773, is in early-stage development, and works by stimulating the patient’s own immune system to block cells infected with the virus, Reuters reported on Monday.

Roche’s acquisition of Anadys will help the company strengthen its hepatitis portfolio. “Our aim is to offer physicians and hepatitis patients a powerful combination of therapies that bring us closer to a cure, even without the use of interferon,” said Jean-Jacques Garaud, Global Head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development in an October 17 press release. “Anadys’ compounds provide additional modes of action that could lead to interferon-free treatment regimens without viral resistance.”



Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc. (PPDI) soars on private equity buyout news

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Shares of Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc. (Nasdaq: PPDI) were up as much as 27 percent from Friday’s closing price in morning trading on Monday after it was announced that PPD entered into a definitive merger agreement under which it will be acquired by affiliates of The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman in an all-cash transaction valued at $3.9 billion, after which PPD will be a private company, an October 3 press release stated.

Shares of PPDI touched a high of $32.63, up from Friday’s closing price of $25.66.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman will acquire the outstanding common shares of PPD for $33.25 per share in cash. This represents a premium of 29.6 percent over PPD’s closing price on September 30, 2011.

“The sale of PPD to The Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman provides an attractive return for our shareholders, while also ensuring a secure foundation and commitment to investment, innovation and excellence for PPD clients and employees as the company builds on its 25-year history of success,” said Fred Eshelman, founder and executive chairman of Pharmaceutical Product Development, Inc. in an October 3 press release.

Pharmaceutical product Development, Inc. is a leading global contract research organization that provides drug discovery, development and lifecycle management services for clients and partners including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations.

The transaction is currently expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011. Following completion of the transaction, PPD will become a privately held company and its stock will no longer trade on Nasdaq. PPD noted that, in light of the proposed transaction, it will not host a conference call to discuss financial results for the third quarter of 2011.

Vical, Inc. (VICL) surges on news of encouraging animal data

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Shares of biopharmaceutical company, Vical, Inc. (Nasdaq: VICL) were up as much as 21 percent from Wednesday’s closing price in mid-day trading on Thursday after teh company announced “encouraging” animal data demonstrating a synergistic improvement in efficacy using a combination of the company’s Allovectin immunotherapy with an anti-CTLA-4 antibody.

Shares of Vical touched an intraday high of $2.98 on Thursday morning, up from Wednesday’s closing price of $2.43.

According to a September 22 press release, treatment with Allovectin plus anti-CTLA-4 antibody provided a synergistic reduction of tumor growth compared with either treatment alone.

“We expected a synergistic effect with this co-treatment, and were pleased that this study confirmed it,” said Alain P. Rolland, Pharm.D., Ph.D., Vical’s Executive Vice President of Product Development in the September 22 press release.

The study was conducted in a well-accepted melanoma mouse model using a standard mouse equivalent of human anti-CTLA-4 antibodies such as ipilimumab. Cohorts included untreated mice, mice treated with Allovectin(R) alone, mice treated with anti-CTLA-4 antibody alone, and mice treated with Allovectin(R) plus anti-CTLA-4 antibody.

Vical, Inc. was founded in 1987 and is based in San Diego, California. Shares of VICL are down about 30 percent over the past three months.

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (OREX) surges on news of obesity drug revival

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Shares of Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX) surged more than 80 percent from Tuesday’s closing price in morning trading on Wednesday after the company, along with the U.S. Food and Drug  Administration identified “a clear and feasible path to approval for Contrave,” Orexigen’s experimental obesity drug that was shelved  earlier this year because of health risks.

“We have been working with clinical experts, advocacy groups, and our partner, Takeda, throughout this process and are pleased with the feedback provided by FDA that identified a very clear and feasible path forward for this important therapy,” said Michael Narachi, President and CEO of Orexigen in a September 21 press release.

Shares of Orexigen touched a high of $2.68, up from Tuesday’s closing price of $1.47, according to Yahoo Finance.

Contrave, an investigational combination therapy of naltrexone HCl and bupropion HCl, was studied for its ability to help people with obesity initiate and sustain weight loss of at least 5 percent of their starting body weight in one year. Contrave was submitted for U.S. regulatory approval in March 2010. The original submission was based on multiple clinical trials that evaluated Contrave in more than 4500 patients.

Orexigen Therapeutics and its Japanese partner Takeda will need to run a  patient safety study of approximately 10,000-patients to assess the heart-safety risk of Contrave.

Orexigen estimates that the entire study would require less than 10,000 patients and less than two years from study start to the interim analysis, according to the September 21 press release. Orexigen plans to meet with the review division to finalize a protocol with the objective of initiating the CVOT in the first half of 2012, with potential approval in 2014.

Prana Biotechnology Ltd. (PRAN) soars on news of effectiveness of Alzheimer’s treatment

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Shares of Prana Biotechnology Ltd. (Nasdaq: PRAN) touched a daily high of $2.31 per share, up more than 34 percent from Friday’s closing price, after it was announced that The Journal Of Neurochemistry has published an update on the mechanism of action of PBT2 in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study explains how PBT2 is able to restore cognition in AD sufferers through repair of affected Alzheimer’s brains. The findings further explain the rapid improvement in cognition previously reported in transgenic Alzheimer’s mice and in patients in a Phase IIa clinical trial with PBT2. These new results further explain how PBT2 can achieve rapid improvements in cognition: by liberation of copper and zinc trapped in amyloid deposits and returning those essential metals to neurons, where they are needed for normal function.

The Australia-based Prana Biotechnology Ltd. also recently received a “very positive reaction” from international patient groups and researchers at this week’s World Congress on Huntington’s Disease in Melbourne, according to a September 15 press release.

Huntington’s disease is a disorder passed down through families in which nerve cells in certain parts of the brain waste away, or degenerate.

“Prana and our collaborators at major research institutions have been conducting extensive research into neurodegenerative diseases for more than a decade, including our efforts to learn more about Huntington’s,” said Prana’s Executive Chairman, Geoffrey Kempler in the September 15 press release. “Since we decided to conduct a Phase IIa trial of our experimental drug PBT2 in Huntington’s patients, the Huntington’s community has been very quick to support our research program.”

Prana Biotechnology Ltd. engages in the research and development of therapeutic drugs for neurological diseases in Australia. The company primarily focuses on the Alzheimer‘s, Parkinson‘s, and Huntington‘s diseases, as well as various age-related degenerative disorders. Its development stage product line includes PBT2, a phase IIb clinical product intended for the Alzheimer’s disease; and PBT2, a phase IIa clinical product for the Huntington’s disease.