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Here are some healthcare stocks and stories to watch during this holiday-shortened trading week...
AMRN: The volatile trading of Amarin Corporation (NASDAQ:AMRN) should continue during the opening weeks of September as the company is expected to file for approval with the FDA for AMR-101 in the treatment of high triglycerides.
Amarin rose to nearly twenty bucks after positive results from a pair of Phase III trials were released late last year and early this year. The run was also supported by vast speculation that a major partnership or sale of the company was under way following the positive trial outcomes, although that speculation was quickly stifled when comments made by the CEO indicated that a partnership or buyout might not be on the immediate horizon.
Market sentiment has it that AMR101 will gain an FDA approval, based on the solid Phase III results, so this will be a stock to keep on the radar as a rise to previous highs could take place leading into the FDA decision date, which could come as early as the first half of next year.
The US Patent and Trademark Office recently rejected the company's filing for and AMR-101 patent, adding a potential back story to an already volatile stock to watch.
APRI: Shares of Apricus Biosciences (NASDAQ:APRI) have rebounded nicely over the past couple of weeks after falling into the threes during the general market downturn, although the rebound stalled on Friday on a day that saw the DOW drop over 200 points.
Recent announcements that Apricus' NexACT drug delivery technology would be available in multiple products on the over-the-counter (OTC) market were clarified in a press release last week, noting that the OTC products were not in fact "approved" by the FDA, rather they were "compliant" with the standards set forth.
Earlier in the week the company announced that a third product utilizing the NexACT technology would be available OTC, marking a significant milestone for Apricus as it also looks to launch the erectile dysfunction drug Vitaros in Canada later this year. For some time now its been expected that a Canadian partner for the said launch would be announced over the near term, so that'll be a catalyst to watch in the coming weeks.
With new products making it to market and a Canadian launch of Vitaros imminent, APRI could test its old highs over the coming quarters.
Keep it on the radar.
DNDN: Although rebounding from recent lows over the past couple of weeks, Dendreon's (NASDAQ:DNDN) rise stalled on Friday as continued negative press and concerns about demand weigh heavily on the short- and long-term outlooks for the company.
These concerns, along with serious questions about reimbursement, have many debating whether Dendreon is simply in the midst of a minor setback or whether its 'Golden Age' is still in tact, and ready to regain momentum over the coming quarters.
Questions of reimbursement are slowly being solved, as evidenced by the recent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to allow full reimbursement, but that doesn't necessarily make Doctors comfortable with fronting the significant cost of Provenge treatment.
While the debates go on in the press as to the future potential of Provenge and Dendreon itself, it's worth noting that bad press has effected this company and its stock before, and questionable trading along with conflicts-of-interest have been brought to light, as well.
The facts remain that the truth will be known with the numbers.
Company officials have pulled year-end 2011 guidance that estimated Provenge sales at $350-$400 million, but if Dendreon's efforts to quell fears of reimbursement come to fruition, and if demand truly is where the company and investors expected it to be, then 2012 could end up as another golden year for DNDN.
Stay tuned to this story, as usual.
IMUC: Shares of Immunocellular Therapeutics (NYSEMKT:IMUC) have slipped to below the $1.50 mark over the past trading week, leaving the company with a market cap of under fifty million dollars, well below the level of other competitors in the market.
As noted previously, this company's technology of targeting the stem cells that lead to the spreading and growing of cancer is worth keeping an eye on after a successful Phase I trial for the glioblastoma treatment (GBM) ICT-107 led to the quick initiation of the currently-ongoing Phase II study.
Immunocellular also holds logistical advantages over other cancer immunotherapy treatments, such as Dendreon's Provenge, which could make it an attractive merger or acquisition candidate.
While shares have slipped over the past weeks, it's worth keeping this one on the radar.
Cancer treatment is a potentially lucrative investing field, and if the current Phase II trial plays out as successful as the Phase I (and Phase I follow-up results) have demonstrated, then attention could come quick to this company.
CTSO: Shares of Cytosorbents (CTSO.OB) nearly hit a quarter last week as volume and interest picked up, possibly as the result of the announcement that the company would take part in the International Congress of the German Sepsis Society during the coming week in Weimar, Germany.
The move into the mid-twenty-cent range comes fairly quickly after shares had fallen to fourteen cents during the recent market dip, making it a nice short-term play to go along with the long-term potential that came to light after CytoSorb received CE Mark approval in Europe earlier this year.
Attendance at the conference plays right into Cytosorbents' strategy of expanding its exposure in Germany before pushing into a further European roll-out of its cytokine filter, originally targeted in a European trial to treat severe sepsis, but ultimately approved to treat any indications where high cytokines are present.
CTSO continues to be an intriguing play, and the quick rebound on a spurt of increased volume could be an indicator that others are starting to take notice.
Watch this one, as evidenced earlier this year, when this guy moves - it could move quick.
GERN: After rising to above three bucks on increased volume last week, shares of Geron (NASDAQ:GERN) slipped back 10% on a day of a broad market drop. This company is still the arguable leader in the field of stem-cell based regenerative medicine (with honorable mention given to Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC.OB), and should not be ignored for its potential impact in the future of regenerative treatment.
While Friday posted a setback in GERN's recovery, a short- and long-term rebound may be in store for this company that once traded for a market cap of nearly a billion when stem-cell research was the hype of the day.
AMPE: Ampio has soared to nearly eight dollars over the past week based on the company's potential to make a quick splash with its repositioned pipeline, and multiple near-term catalysts should keep this one on the short- and long-term radar for weeks to come. The conclusion of a study testing lead-product Ampion in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee is expected before the end of the third quarter, marking the most imminent potential market-mover.
ONTY: Positive press has kept shares of Oncothyreon (ONTY) from slipping too far from their highs of ten dollars, and interest could continue being paid to the company as Stimuvax trials wind down. Results are due next year, and if positive, this one could quickly become a major growth story in the field of cancer immunotherapy.
SIGA: Siga has slipped considerably since landing a contract award from BARDA for its smallpox antiviral ST-246, and a short-lived rebound was stifled on Friday when shares fell 8%, right back toward the five dollar mark.
The conclusion of a trial with PharmAthene (NYSEMKT:PIP) over partnership negotiations from years ago over ST-246 is imminent, and unless Siga is absolutely demolished in the outcome, the fact that the trial is over with should lead to a rebound in share price, especially as government money continues to roll in.