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The Daily Biotech Pulse: Immutep Gets US Patent, Conatus NASH Disappointment, Eisai Moves On After Aducanumab Setback

The Daily Biotech Pulse: Immutep Gets US Patent, Conatus NASH Disappointment, Eisai Moves On After Aducanumab Setback

Here's a roundup of top developments in the biotech space over the last 24 hours.

Scaling The Peaks

(Biotech stocks hitting 52-week highs on March 21)

  • Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT)
  • Baxter International Inc (NYSE: BAX)
  • Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co Ltd (NYSE: BHVN)
  • CareDx Inc (NASDAQ: CDNA)
  • Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: CPRX)
  • Glaukos Corp (NYSE: GKOS)
  • Masimo Corporation (NASDAQ: MASI)
  • Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK)
  • Qiagen NV (NYSE: QGEN)
  • Uniqure NV (NASDAQ: QURE)
  • Veracyte Inc (NASDAQ: VCYT)
  • XBiotech Inc (NASDAQ: XBIT)
  • Zoetis Inc (NYSE: ZTS)

Down In The Dumps

(Biotech stocks hitting 52-week lows on March 21)

  • Biogen Inc (NASDAQ: BIIB)(discontinued development of one of its Alzheimer's candidate aducanumab)
  • Unity Biotechnology Inc (NASDAQ: UBX)

Stock In Focus

Immutep Granted U.S. Patent For its Cancer Treatment Method

Australian biotech IMMUTEP LTD/S ADR (NASDAQ: IMMP) has been granted a new patent entitled "Use of Recombinant LAG-3 or the Derivatives thereof for Eliciting Monocyte Immune Response" by the U.S. Patent Office.

The new patent pertains to intellectual property protection for Immutep's method of treating cancer by the administration of a chemotherapy agent, and a plurality of doses of eftilagimod alpha, which is used to generate a monocyte-mediated immune response.

"Importantly, the granted patent claims support the application of efti in Immutep's ongoing AIPAC clinical trial in metastatic breast cancer," the company said.

The patent is set to expire Oct. 3, 2028.

The stock rallied 21.43 percent to $2.72 in after-hours trading.

See Also: Sage's First-Of-Its-Kind Postpartum Depression Drug Clears FDA Hurdle: What You Need to Know

Biogen, Partner Eisai Initiate Late-Stage Trial Of Alzheimer's Therapy Candidate

Close on heels of the aducanumab disappointment, Biogen's partner Eisai has initiated a global Phase 3 study, dubbed Clarity AD/Study 301, of BAN2401, an anti-amyloid beta protofibril antibody in patients with early Alzheimer's disease.

Conatus NASH Candidate Fails In Mid-Stage Trial

Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: CNAT) announced top-line results from its Phase 2b study, dubbed ENCORE-NF clinical trials, of emricasan in patients with biopsy-confirmed nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, and liver fibrosis, showing the trial did not meet the primary endpoint of bringing out one or more than one CRN fibrosis stage improvement with no worsening of steatohepatitis compared with placebo at week 72.

However, the company said it demonstrated biomarker activity across a broad spectrum of liver disease, warranting continued evaluation in more-advanced stage NASH cirrhosis patients.

The company said it awaits further readouts over the coming months and plan to review the totality of data with partner Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) in deciding the appropriate path forward.

The stock tumbled 50.86 percent to $1.43 in after-hours trading.


Opiant Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: OPNT) reported a decline in its fourth-quarter revenues from $11.7 million in 2017 to $4.8 million in 2018. The loss per share came in at 37 cents per share, wider than the 13 cents per share loss estimated by analysts.

The stock fell 5.06 percent to $13.31 in after-hours trading.

On The Radar


Sanofi SA (NASDAQ: SNY) and Lexicon Pharmaceutical await FDA verdict for their oral diabetic drug Zynquista, chemically Sotagliflozin.


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