Posts Tagged ‘biotech’

Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (QCOR) perks on Q2 bottom line

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOR) shares rallied 24.1% to $32.26 after the drug developer late Tuesday reported second-quarter income above expectations. Volume for the stock totaled 6.7 million shares, or nearly seven times its daily average.

An AP story quoted the Anaheim-based drug company as saying Tuesday that its profit jumped 49% in the second quarter as a strong pickup in prescriptions of the multiple sclerosis treatment H.P. Acthar Gel helped boost revenue to record levels.

The company reported net income of $13.9 million, or 21 cents a share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with net income of $9.3 million, or 14 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Excluding certain non-cash expenses, the company’s earnings amounted to 23 cents a share, Questcor said.

Revenue grew by 62% to $46 million, versus $28.3 million a year earlier.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting, on average, net income of 20 cents a share on a profit of $42.1 million.

AP also said Questcor’s shipments of vials of Acthar rose 45% during the quarter versus a year earlier. They were up 21% from the first quarter’s tally.

The company said prescriptions for Acthar to treat multiple sclerosis more than doubled compared with the same quarter last year.

Prescriptions for the drug as a treatment for other conditions, including infantile spasms, also surged.

“Our focus on expanding the use of Acthar in the treatment of MS exacerbations drove our record second quarter financial performance,” AP piece quoted Don Bailey, Questcor’s president and Chief Executive, as saying.

As a result, the company is expanding its nephrology selling effort, he added.

Marshall Edwards, Inc. (MSHL) grows from publication of new study

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Marshall Edwards, Inc.(Nasdaq: MSHL) shares leaped 172.7% to $3.19, after it announced the publication of results from a pre-clinical study of NV-128 showing activity in chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer stem cells. Volume for the stock topped 2.5 million shares, dwarfing a daily average around 75,000.

The San Diego-based Marshall Edwards, an oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapeutics targeting cancer metabolism, announced in news release dated July 27 the publication of results from a pre-clinical study of NV-128 showing activity in chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer stem cells. NV-128 is the prodrug of the Company’s investigational compound and lead mitochondrial inhibitor drug candidate, NV-344.

The publication, entitled “Targeting the mitochondria activates two independent cell death pathways in the ovarian cancer stem cells,” is available on the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics website and scheduled to print in the August issue of the journal.

Previous studies conducted at Yale University showed that NV-128 is able to inhibit tumor growth in an ovarian cancer animal model without inducing significant toxicity, suggesting a sufficient therapeutic window that may allow compounds of this class to be safely administered to patients. Marshall Edwards plans to complete the required pre-clinical studies of NV-344 to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the first quarter of 2012.

In the same release, company CEO Daniel Gold said, “This study exemplifies the importance of our ongoing collaboration with … Yale University as well as our continuing commitment to enhancing our pipeline of novel drug candidates.

“We are excited about the progress we are making with both of our lead candidates, NV-143 and NV-344, and look forward to reporting on their clinical development in the months ahead.” Gold concluded.

Marshall Edwards, Inc. is focused on the clinical development of novel anti-cancer therapeutics. The Company’s lead programs focus on two families of small molecules that result in the inhibition of tumor cell metabolism.

Arch Chemicals Inc. (ARJ) benefits from buyout by Swiss firm

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Arch Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: ARJ) shares rose Monday by 11.2% to $46.88. The biocides firm agreed to be acquired by Swiss chemical company Lonza Group AG in a cash transaction valued at $1.4 billion, the companies said. Volume for the stock ballooned to more than 8.5 million shares, over a daily average of less than 198,000.

A release dated July 11 stated that the Norwalk, Conn.-based Arch received an offer from Lonza representing a 36.7% premium to Arch Chemicals’ average closing price over the last 30 trading days. Based on the offer price for all the outstanding shares, Arch Chemicals’ enterprise value would be $1.4 billion (approximately 1.25 billion Swiss francs).

Lonza’s cash offer is subject to customary conditions including the tendering of more than two-thirds of Arch Chemicals’ outstanding shares of common stock and clearance from antitrust regulatory authorities. Lonza expects to commence the tender offer by July 15 and to complete the tender offer later in 2011.

Said Arch CEO Michael Campbell in the same release, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Lonza, a company that knows our business well and shares our commitment to continuous improvement in innovation, operational excellence, safety and sustainability.

“We are confident that we have found the right strategic partner to help our business reach the next level of success. This compelling transaction offers Arch Chemicals shareholders a meaningful premium for their shares and will create exciting opportunities for Arch Chemicals employees, while enhancing offerings for customers.”

Arch Chemicals, Inc. is a global Biocides company with annual sales of over $1 billion U.S. Arch and its subsidiaries provide innovative, chemistry-based and related solutions to destroy or to selectively inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms.

Zalicus Inc. (ZLCS) gains from ratings boost

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Zalicus Inc. (Nasdaq: ZLCS) shares rose 11.6% to $2.60 after Oppenheimer & Co. initiated coverage of the drug-development firm with an outperform rating. Volume for the stock was 2.1 million shares, outdistancing its all-day average.

An article posted Tuesday on the site reported that Oppenheimer analysts also set a $4.00 price target on the stock.

“Zalicus has one approved drug and a pipeline of promising candidates targeting potentially large commercial opportunities,” the site quotes Oppenheimer as writing. “The leading drugs in the pipeline are Synavive, which is in development for rheumatoid arthritis, and Prednisporin, an agent for allergic conjuctivitis (eye allergies).

“Additionally, Zalicus has two drug discovery platforms—one focused on finding synergies between two pharmaceutical agents and another is aimed at the discovery of new ion channel modulators. Both may produce additional drug candidates for clinical development and/or partnering.”

Zalicus management was not available for comment. Zalicus, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops novel treatments for patients suffering from pain and immuno-inflammatory diseases.

Icagen Inc. (ICGN) takes flight on hint of Pfizer takeover

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Icagen Inc. (Nasdaq: ICGN) shares rocketed 113.8% to $5.13 after drug manufacturer Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) said in a regulatory filing late Friday that it was looking at a possible strategic alliance with the biopharmaceutical company. Volume for Icagen totaled 1.8 million shares in the early trading hours of Monday, compared to an all-day average of 71,000.

A news release was issued soon after the market closed on Friday, June 24. In the release, Icagen put out a statement in which it acknowledged that it is currently engaged in preliminary discussions with Pfizer regarding a potential strategic transaction, but, quote “no definitive agreement has been reached.

“There can be no assurance that any agreement will be reached,” the statement continued, “or that a transaction will be consummated. Icagen does not plan to make future announcements with respect to this matter unless and until its Board of Directors has approved a specific transaction or an extension or other modification of the existing collaboration agreement and it has entered into a definitive agreement or the current discussions have terminated.”

Icagen, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel orally-administered small molecule drugs that modulate ion channel targets. Utilizing its proprietary know-how and integrated scientific and drug development capabilities, Icagen has identified multiple drug candidates that modulate ion channels.