Molecular Insight Surges on Trial Results

Molecular Insight shares rocket higher Friday after the company announces positive results in a Phase 1 clinical trial.
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(Molecular Insight story updated with background detail on the company's history as a public company.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Molecular Insight Pharmaceutical

(MIPI)

stock has lifted off in euphoric buying Friday after the company showed positive data from an early-stage trial of its cancer diagnostic technology.

In frenzied trading on the Nasdaq Exchange, shares of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Molecular Insight -- heretofore a penny stock flirting with banishment to the pink sheets -- surged by more than 80% to $1.40 earlier Friday. By early afternoon, it had eased back some, however, trading at $1.27. Nearly 2.7 million shares had changed hands in a stock with average daily volumes of about 150,000.

The company, which went public in 2007 at more than $14 a share and has steadily declined ever since, has been fighting to stave off bankruptcy. It has spent the better part of the year not only conducting a clinical trial but also negotiating waiver extenstion after waiver extension with its bondholders as it struggles to restructure its debt.

Just last week, the company received a deslisting notice from Nasdaq because it had failed to maintain the mininum bid requirement of $1 a share for 30 straight sessions.

But then, on Friday, Molecular Insight issued its celebratory (and timely) press release. According to the company, its diagnostic -- a molecular imaging technology called Trofex that hunts for prostrate cancer cells -- outperformed in a Phase 1 clinical trial a product already on the market. That product, a radiopharmaceutical called ProstaScint, is manufactured by Cytogen, a unit of the private-equity consortium-backed

EUSA Pharma

.

The data, offered up in a presentation at a medical conference in Vienna, showed that "Trofex rapidly detected prostate cancer localized in the prostate bed, soft tissues and bone within four hours post injection," Molecular Insight said in its press release.

"In contrast, ProstaScint required five days before imaging and was unable to detect metastatic disease in bone," the company said.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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