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Shares of



surged 44% Friday after the company said it is on the verge of getting a drug for high blood pressure approved in Europe.

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In recent trading, the stock rose $1.89 to $6.21.

The $255 million market cap Houston drug developer said an agency that advises the European Commission recommended approval of its Thelin for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Thelin is Encysive's main development candidate and word of a setback in efforts to get it approved in the U.S.

cratered the stock last March.

On Friday, Encysive said the committee for medicinal products for human use of the European agency recommended approval for 100-miligram tablets of Thelin as a once-daily treatment of certain patients with PAH.

"The CHMP's positive opinion will now be considered by the European Commission, which is expected to issue a final decision regarding marketing approval for Thelin within approximately 90 days," Encysive noted. "Under the EMEA's centralized licensing procedure, if approved, Encysive would be granted marketing authorization for Thelin in all 25 member states of the European Union."