Shire plc (SHPGY) received FDA approval for Lialda, its mesalamine drug with MMX technology. The drug is the only once-daily oral therapy for patients with active, mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Shire expects to launch Lialda in Q1 of 2007. Shire rose 65 cents to $64.20.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was given a $63 million HHS contract to develop pre-pandemic and pandemic flu vaccines. Glaxo is doing research that combines new adjuvants in combination with antigens to provoke a strong immune response. The goal would be to extend a limited supply of flu vaccines in the face of a pandemic. GSK will also ship 15.5 million treatment courses of flu-drug Relenza for the US stockpile. GSK gained 69 cents to end the day at $55.23.
Geron (GERN) (see Geron, Stem Cells and Telomerase) published data showing that GRNOPC1, one of its stem cell drug candidates, produces proteins that stimulate the survival and regeneration of neurons damaged during spinal cord injury. This effect is in addition to the in vivo remyelinating activity of the stem cells previously documented. Geron moved 23 cents higher to $8.88.
MDS Nordion (MDZ) has started treating liver cancer patients in India with TheraSphere, the radioactive glass beads that are injected into the main artery of the liver using a catheter. The procedure was conducted on an out-patient basis. MDS Nordion says the therapy is an alternative for patients who are not sufficiently healthy to withstand traditional cancer treatments. TheraSphere is approved for use in Europe; in the U.S., it is available as a Humanitarian Use Device. MDS inched up a penny to $17.38.
GenVec (GNVC) will conduct a clinical trial of its experimental adenovirus vaccine vector for malaria at the US Naval Medical Research Center. GenVec rose 10 cents to $2.60.
Cerus (CERS) received approval in France for plasma treated with the Intercept Blood System. Intercept is designed to increase protection of blood from pathogens, such as West Nile virus and Chikungunya virus. Cerus was off by 40 cents at $5.74.
Genaera [GENR] presented data supporting the method of action of trodusquemine, a small molecule compound aimed at appetite suppression. According to the company, trodusquemine suppresses appetite, induces body weight loss and normalizes blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels. The company plans a Phase I trial starting in the first half of 2007. Two weeks ago, Genaera stopped development of its Evizon program, which was aimed at wet age-related macular degeneration. Genaera was higher by a very small $.004 at $.254.
Cepheid (CPHD) entered a collaboration with bioMerieux of France. Both companies will work toward developing new drugs for sepsis using the GeneXpert platform. Cepheid will manufacture the product, and bioMerieux will have exclusive rights to distribute sepsis assays. Cepheid climbed 10 cents to $8.58.
Biotech posted a small gain, establishing another new high. The Centient Biotech 200™ rose 5 points to cross the 4100 barrier. The index was up .11%. The broad market was lower, with the S&P 500 down .09% and Nasdaq off by a more substantial .74%.