Positive trial news pumped up shares of a few biotech companies, including Cortex Pharmaceuticals ( COR), on Tuesday while others bared their earnings. Cortex Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday that the Food and Drug Administration gave it a green light to resume enrollment in its Alzheimer's treatment Ampakine cx717. On the basis of data submitted in April, the agency has approved a protocol with all dose levels for the study, after previously putting a hold on 600-mg and 1200-mg doses. The limitations were related to concerns over data from preclinical animal trials, according to the company. Cortex rose 64 cents, or 24%, to $3.31. Another winner, Durect ( DRRX), announced positive results in a phase IIb clinical trial of Posidur for post-operative pain in patients undergoing inguinal hernia repair. It was the study that Durect and Nycomed are basing the advancement of Posidur into phase III trials, and the results trigger an $8 million milestone payment from Nycomed. Durect, which gained 68 cents, or 18.2%, to $4.41, said it has scheduled an end-of-phase II meeting with the FDA in preparation for Posidur's phase III program. Also, Nastech Pharmaceuticals ( NSTK) was issued two U.S. patents for its Parathyroid Hormone Nasal Spray to treat osteoporosis and PYY nasal spray for treatment of obesity. Nastech added $1, or 8.4%, to $12.89. Durect and Nastech Pharmaceuticals are both components of the Nasdaq Biotechnology index, which was up 0.45, or 0.05%, to 818.69.
Encysive Pharmaceuticals ( ENCY) climbed 37 cents, or 21.8%, to $2.06, after announcing it retained Morgan Stanley to evaluate its
strategic alternatives. On the other end, Metabasis Therapeutics ( MBRX) lost $3.91, or 56.7%, to $2.99 after disappointing phase II results from type 2 diabetes candidate and news that Schering-Plough ( SGP) terminated its drug development agreement with the company on a hepatitis B treatment. On the earnings front, Medtox Scientific ( MTOX) lost $5.66, or 21.2%, to $21.02. The company reported net income for the quarter ended June 30 of $1.8 million, or 20 cents a share, compared to $1.3 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The Thomson Financial consensus target was 22 cents a share for the quarter. Additionally in earnings, Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) reported earnings of $3.1 billion, or $1.05 a share, for the quarter in comparison to $2.9 billion, or 98 cents a share, in 2006, and the Thomson Financial consensus target of $1 a share. Shares of the company, however, were down $1.17, or 1.8%, to $62.64. Forest Labs ( FRX) earned $268 million, or 83 cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30, compared to $200 million, or 62 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The company beat the consensus target of 77 cents a share, but was down 88 cents, or 1.9%, to $45.79.