Shares of neurological and endocrine-related drug maker, Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX) soared as much as 16 percent from Thursday’s closing price, in morning trading on Friday on news that Jefferies & Co. had initiated coverage of the stock with a buy rating. Neurocrine shares touched a high of $7.37 per share in morning trading, up from Thursday’s closing price of $6.34.
We covered Neurocrine Biosciences in early June 2010 after the company announced a development deal with privately held German drug maker, Boehringer Ingelheim. Prior to that, Neurocrine was a Buzz Stock of the Day in May2010 after the company announced “statistically significant and clinically meaningful” top-line efficacy results from its Daisy PETAL phase II study of elagolix, a treatment for patients with endometriosis.
In mid-September, Neurocrine said that a potential treatment for major depressive disorder conferred no benefit on patients in a midstage study. The study on GSK561679 involved 150 patients and was conducted by partner GlaxoSmithKline. It compared the drug candidate with placebo. Neurocrine said it plans to meet with GlaxoSmithKline in the coming months after full clinical data are available to discuss next steps for the program. Other ongoing clinical trials on the drug are testing it against post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and alcoholism.
Despite the setback, shares of Neurocrine are trading near their 52-week high.