Thursday's Health Winners & Losers
One biotech fell hard, but most were in the green Thursday amid positive analyst notes and a broader market rally the day before the holiday weekend.
EPIX Pharmaceuticals (EPIX) plummeted after announcing that it is terminating development of its experimental drug for major depressive disorder, PRX-00023, because it didn't show significant efficacy in a recent phase IIb trial. Shares fell $1.53, or 49%, to $1.56.
The plunge didn't weigh too heavily on the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up 5.32, or 0.7%, at 742.48.
Among analyst moves, Cantor Fitzgerald's Pamela Bassett initiated coverage on Sequenom (SQNM) with a buy rating and a $12 price target, citing the potential of the company's genetic analysis technology. Shares were trading up 40 cents, or 8.1%, at $5.47.Jefferies & Co. analyst Eun Yang reaffirmed a buy rating and a $16 price target for Altus Pharmaceuticals (ALTU), noting the partnership potential for Trizytec, a treatment to aid digestion in patients with cystic fibrosis, and for ALTU-238, a growth hormone. Shares rose 34 cents, or 7.4%, to $4.95. In general news, Alnylam (ALNY) climbed 3.6% after the company said it licensed its RNAi intellectual property to Shanghai GenePharma. The patent that Alnylam is licensing covers aspects of the structure and uses of RNAi products. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing, and RNAi therapeutics targets the causes of diseases by preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. Shares of Anylam were up 89 cents to $24.62. Also, 3SBio (SSRX) jumped 14% after the company said it will buy back up to $20 million of its American depositary shares on a time-to-time basis on the open market over the next year, using working capital. The Chinese biotechnology company saw shares rise $1.04 to $8.65. Elsewhere, Abbott (ABT) and Osaka, Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical said they will terminate their TAP Pharmaceutical Products joint venture, dividing the value equally. The TAP venture, created in 1977, last year had revenue of $3.1 billion from its two marketed products, heart burn medication Prevacid and oncology treatment Lurpon. The agreement calls for Abbott to take rights to Lupron and Takeda to have rights to Prevacid. Takeda receives all rights to the joint pipeline and Abbott will receive payments based on current and certain future products, including two products under review for approval by the FDA. Abbott shares rose 92 cents, or 1.7%, to $55.31.
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