Updated from 2:25 p.m. EDTStudy updates launched and sank a few biotech stocks Thursday while the overall mood was grim. Corcept Therapeutics ( CORT) closed up 23.2% after saying preliminary top-line results showed a statistically significant reduction in weight gain in patients who took olanzapine plus corlux compared to those who took olanzapine alone in a two-week, male-only, proof-of-concept study. The announcement managed to pump the stock 33 cents to $1.75. Pharmaceutical company Vivus ( VVUS) said it finished a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration, following the completion of its phase II program for investigative obesity treatment Qnexa. As a result of the meeting, the company said it will dose 4,500 patients in a pivotal 56-week phase III program studying obese patients and obese patients with associated comorbidities, or conditions that exist in addition to obesity such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dislipidemia. It intends to initiate enrollment this fall and is preparing an application for special protocol assessment for the drug as a treatment for obesity in the U.S. After rising 16 cents to $5.17 in premarket trading, the company was hugging the flat line, down 5 cents to $4.96. Vivus is part of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up less than 1 point at 812.61.
On the falling end, Advanced Life Sciences ( ADLS) dropped 4.4%. In two late-stage clinical trials assessing the safety and effectiveness of cethromycin -- a treatment for community acquired pneumonia (CAP) -- the company said the drug achieved non-inferiority in its primary endpoint of per-protocol clinical cure rate. However, while cethromycin had a reported cure rate of 91.5%, Biaxin had a rate of 95.9% in the study. "The comparator drug, Biaxin, achieved a cure rate higher than the historical rate observed in any reported Biaxin CAP clinical trials to date," Advanced Holdings explained in a press release. The company said the safety results were similar. Advanced Life closed down 14 cents at $3.05. Elsewhere, IDM Pharma ( IDMI) sank $1.12 or 27.1%, to $3.02 after it announced investors have agreed to purchase about 7.1 million shares of common stock and will also issue five-year warrants to investors to buy roughly 2.4 million more shares at an exercise price of $4.06 apiece. The warrants and shares will be purchased at $3.50 each. The company expects the sale to occur on or around June 25, and says it will result in $23.5 million after expenses and will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes. And in the opposite direction, Commonweath Biotechnologies ( CBTE) gained 33 cents, or 10.1%, to $3.60 after it said it anticipates two contract awards totaling $2.8 million. The first is a $1.7 million, three-year government contract for analytical methods for bio-toxin detection and quantitation, and the second is a $1.1 million contract with a private-sector client for more than one year for biomarker analysis by mass spectrometry. The company said it expects to begin work on both contracts in July and that it expects them to significantly affect revenue in the third and fourth quarters.
Winning also, Tutogen Medical ( TTG) was up 75 cents, or 8.6%, to $9.47. Roth Capital upgraded the company from hold to buy Thursday morning. In other analyst action: Friedman Billings changed its price target for Valeant Pharmaceuticals ( VRX) from $26 to $22. And Merriman Curhan Ford downgraded Coley Pharmaceuticals ( COLY), whose developmental program suffered Pfizer's ( PFE) axe Wednesday, from buy to neutral. Valeant closed down 4 cents to $16.95, and Coley Pharmaceutical closed up 16 cents, or 4.6%, to $3.62.