Updated from 1:32 p.m. EDTOverall, clinical results and an array of announcements put health stocks in promising water on hump day -- though there's always an exception. CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals ( CGPI) fell on results of a phase II dose-finding study designed to evaluate the safety and determine the therapeutic range of incyclinide for the treatment of rosacea. The patients who were administered incyclinide didn't demonstrate a greater reduction in inflammatory lesions than the placebo arm at any point during the study, and thus the company is ending clinical development of incyclinide for rosacea patients. CollaGenex, which said it is planning to conduct additional development work for incyclinide for acne, fell $1.78, or 16%, to $9.35. Other health care companies gave positive results, sending their stocks in the other direction. Alkermes ( ALKS) and Indevus Pharmaceuticals ( IDEV) announced positive preliminary results from a phase IIa clinical study of ALKS 27, an inhaled formulation of trospium choloride, in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The companies said single doses of ALKS 27 produced a rapid and statistically significant improvement in lung function over 24 hours compared with placebo. Alkermes gained $1.24, or 7.4%, to $17.92, and Indevus up 0.9% at $6.68. They're both components of the Nasdaq biotechnology index, which was up 7.96 points, or 0.9%, to 858.21. Also, Nektar Therapeutics ( NKTR) reported positive results from phase I and preclinical studies of NKTR-118, an oral therapy for opioid-bowel dysfunction (OBD), including opioid-induced constipation (OIC).
The company said oral NKTR-118 improved GI transit time in an animal model of morphine-induced constipation, while maintaining a substantial analgesic effect, and demonstrated significantly lower brain permeation than naloxone in a preclinical study. And in the phase I study, it antagonized the morphine-induced delay in GI transit time without reversing the central opioid effect and was well-tolerated at single, oral doses up to 1,000 milligrams. Nektar ratcheted up 32 cents, or 3.6%, to $9.12. Meanwhile, Incyte ( INCY) reported positive proof-of-concept results for INCB18424, as a topical psoriasis treatment and as an oral myelofibrosis treatment, and INCB13739 for type II diabetes at the UBS Global Life Science conference on Tuesday. The stock added 86 cents, or 13.5%, to $7.23. Elsewhere, also on the winning end, Emergent BioSolutions ( EBS) gained $1.43, or 18.4%, to $9.22 after announcing that it signed a $448 million contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services related to anthrax vaccine BioThrax. The three-year contract includes $400 million for 18.75 million doses of BioThrax, $34 million for regulatory approval of a four-year expiration date for the vaccine, $11.5 million in milestone payments for development of a post-exposure indication, and $2.2 million for logistics and other support. Titan Pharmaceuticals ( TTP) climbed 14 cents, or 6.9%, to $2.16, after it announced Marc Rubin as its new president and chief executive officer (and a member of the board of directors) starting Oct. 1. Rubin was previously the head of global research and development for Bayer Schering Pharma, and prior to that he held several positions at GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK).
In other updates, Novacea ( NOVC) initiated a phase II trial of lead investigational product Asentar (DN-101) in patients with advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The company is also conducting a phase III trial studying Asentar as a treatment for patients with advanced prostate cancer. Shares edged up 27 cents, or 3.5%, to $7.96. Last, the Food and Drug Administration gave Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI) the go-ahead to market its generic of Dey LP's AccuNeb Inhalation Solution, which treats bronchospasm in asthma patients aged 2 to 12. Watson received 180 days of marketing exclusivity for its albuterol sulfate inhalation solution in 0.021% and 0.042% base strengths, upon commercial launch (the company intends to launch it immediately). Shares were up just 50 cents, or 1.6%, to $32.23.