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Thursday, July 28, 2016: Pharmaceutical/ Biotechnology Sector, Today's News Digest For Investors; Spotlight On ATyr Pharma (Nasdaq: LIFE)

|Includes: IBB, aTyr Pharma (LIFE)

The broad market appears in a topping pattern. Weekly jobless claims today jumped slightly higher ending 3 weeks of low readings. Tomorrow's economic data includes consumer sentiment and Q2 GDP.

- Regulus (NASDAQ: RGLS) provides update on clinical hold on RG-101 (miRNA therapy for chronic hepatitis C infection). Press Release.

- Astra Zeneca (NYSE: AZN) stock up 8.7% as rumors surface about a possible take-over bid by Novartis (NYSE: NVS).

- Astra Zeneca dumps 6 pipeline programs. Fiercebiotech. Link to article.

- STAT News: Frustration flares after latest Alzheimer's trials' failure. Link to article.

- Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT) announces collaboration to develop gene-editing therapies in blood and marrow disorders. Link to article.

- Brain stimulation during sleep may boost memory. Link to article.

Today's Focus on

- Astra Zeneca: see news above regarding possible bid by Novartis (7/28/16).

- Biomarin (NASDAQ: BMRN): The company has been on this list. Rumors have surfaced about a take-over bid after impressive data release in hemophilia A gene therapy and Batten's disease. Link to recent Forbes article on the company.

Today's Focus on

- Scynexis (NASDAQ: SCYX): It has been on this list. There has been insider buying recently and phase 2 data in invasive candida infection is expected by next week.

- Alere (NYSE: ALR: 16.1%

- Ariad (NASDAQ: ARIA): 12.4%

- Eleven Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: EBIO): was profiled in yesterday's post. Among top gainers for 4th consecutive day.

- Foamix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: FOMX): 10%

- Astra Zeneca : 8.7%, see takeover chatter above.

- Focus on Evoke Pharma (NASDAQ: EVOK): up 50% today after being profiled in yesterday's post. Stock under-valued. Detailed article to follow on SA Premium. Our price target is $21.84.

New additions today:

- Verastem (NASDAQ: VSTM)

- Chimerix (NASDAQ:CMRX): recent insider buying

- Kitov (NASDAQ: KTOV): up-coming catalyst, NDA planned to be submitted later this year.

- *aTyr Pharma (NASDAQ: LIFE): has been under the watch-list stocks. Recent heavy insider buying in Q2, 2016. Brief note is given below.

- *Cellectar Biosciences (NASDAQ: CLRB): recent heavy insider buying, including CEO, more than $1 million worth shares bought in 04/16.

- Fate Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FATE)

- Brainstem Cell (NASDAQ: BCLI): recent ALS data announced.

- * Cerus Pharma (NASDAQ: CRS): hot call option activity today.

- * Merrimack Pharma (NASDAQ: MACK): hot call option activity today. Also a rumored take-over candidate.

- * Tearlab (NASDAQ: TEAR): insiders bought $150k worth shares in June/July.

aTyr Pharma :

aTyr Pharma is a rare disease focused company which is developing therapies in muscle and lung diseases using Physiocrine technology. The Resocrine pathway is a common pathway to many rare diseases including skeletal muscle and lung disease. The company's key product candidate is Resoalris, which is in a phase 1b/2 trial in fascioscapular humeral muscle dystrophy (FSHD). It is also being tested in other myopathies like limb-girdle myopathy.

Physiocrines are about 300 proteins that are involved in physiological pathways. The company's therapy involves increasing the Resokine level by several fold and believes that it can achieve healthier muscle in more than 30 different muscular dystrophies. In another early study, treatment with the drug decreased inflammation in statin use myopathy.

FSHD is a severe form of skeletal myopathy with immune component. Currently there are no therapeutic treatments available. Resoliris has shwon encouraging results in early studies.

The stock is multiple catalysts in 2016. Enrollment is also been completed in two early clinical trial in adult FSHD. Data is expected in the fourth quarter 2016. There are about 19,000 patients in the US with FSHD, and 16,000 with and LGMD.

The company is also targeting lung disease with immune component like idiopathic pulomary fibrosis. The company management has extensive experience in the industry including at companies like Editas, Moderna, Radius, Novartis and Vertex. The company is positioning itself to be a blockbuster company after discovering this entirely new pathway to treat rare diseases.

Insiders have shown confidence in the company's product pipeline and have bought more than 300,000 shares in last 12 months and more than 12,000 in the last three months. Institutions hold about 60% of the float, and include FMR LLC and Baker Brothers advisors.

The stock is sitting much below its IPO price and the 52-week high of about $21 in 2015. After reaching a 52-week low of $2.48, there has been some upside activity in the stock. The mean sell-side analyst target is about $8, representing significant upside from the current price. Hedge funds bought about 8 million shares in the last quarter.

A link to the company corporate presentation is here for more details.

We have a bullish opinion on the company at current stock price and plan to open a small long position over next 48-72 hours. A more detailed research report will soon follow.

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Additional disclosure: This newsletter/article represents my own opinion and is not a substitute for professional investment advice. It does not represent solicitation to buy or sell any security. Investors should do their own research and consult their financial advisor before making any investment.