NEW YORK, May 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq:SGYP), a developer of new drugs to treat gastrointestinal disorders and diseases, today announced that it has been selected for addition to the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ® (Nasdaq:^NBI), effective prior to the market open on Monday, May 20. The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index is designed to track the performance of a set of NASDAQ-listed securities classified according to the Industry Classification Benchmark (ICB) as either Biotechnology or Pharmaceuticals. These companies must meet eligibility criteria that include a minimum market capitalization of $200 million and minimum average daily trading volume of 100,000 shares, amongst other requirements. The Index Securities are evaluated semi-annually in May and November and serve as the basis for the iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index Fund (AMEX:IBB). For more information about the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index, including eligibility criteria, visit www.nasdaq.com . About Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. Synergy is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of new drugs to treat gastrointestinal disorders and diseases. Synergy's lead proprietary drug candidate, plecanatide, is a synthetic analog of the human gastrointestinal hormone uroguanylin, and functions by activating the guanylate cyclase C receptor on epithelial cells of the GI tract. Synergy completed a positive Phase I study of plecanatide in healthy volunteers, and positive Phase IIa and Phase IIb/III clinical trials in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). Detailed positive findings from the recently completed 951 patient Phase IIb/III CIC clinical trial will be presented at a major scientific meeting this year. Synergy is also developing plecanatide for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), having initiated a Phase IIb trial in IBS-C patients in late 2012. Synergy's second GC-C agonist, SP-333, is in clinical development to treat inflammatory bowel diseases, and is currently in a Phase Ib trial in healthy volunteers having recently completed a Phase Ia trial.