Health indices were boosted by an array of positive clinical trial news to start the holiday-shortened week Tuesday. InterMune ( ITMN) gained after announcing the Food and Drug Administration approved its amended clinical trial authorization (CTA) for ITMN-191, an orally available hepatitis C virus protease inhibitor that it's developing with Roche. InterMune said in May that it would amend the CTA to take into consideration new information from a phase Ia study that was completed that month. The company expects to begin the phase Ib study this month and to announce initial top-line results in the first quarter of 2008. The stock rose $2.06, or 10.4%, to $21.83, helping to support the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which added 16.4, or 2.4%, to 830.1. Also winning Tuesday, NeurogesX ( NGSX) announced
positive top-line results from a phase III trial of NGX-4010, its dermal patch for patients with postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN, a neuropathic-pain condition. Shares climbed $1.16, or 16.3%, to $8.27. In addition, Clinical Data ( CLDA) announced positive results from a phase III study of antidepressant Vilazodone that also identified potential genetic markers for patient response to the drug. Shares rose 77 cents, or 3%, to $26.77. Sciele Pharma ( SCRX) said the FDA accepted its supplemental new-drug application for new dose formulations of hypertension treatment Sular for review with the goal-completion date of Nov. 2.
Sciele used SkyePharma's Geomatrix technology to provide a lower dose of Sular for each of its current doses. Shares gained $2.31, or 10.1%, to $25.39 on Tuesday. Other companies saw shares rise from news released over the holiday weekend. Eli Lilly ( LLY) said Sunday that an investigational phase II study in the journal Nature Medicine showed that the drug LY2140023 acts on certain proteins in the brain known as mGlu2/3 and has antipsychotic activity. The company said the proof-of-concept study showed that schizophrenia patients treated with LY2140023 and the control group treated with Olanzapine saw statistically significant improvement compared to the placebo. Eli Lilly shares added 65 cents, or 1.2%, to $58.02. And Merck ( MRK) said Sunday that in a phase III study, its investigational lipid modifier, Cordaptive, raised good cholesterol with less facial flushing, which is a common side effect of treatments. But Merck was trading down 30 cents, or 0.6%, at $49.87.