Savient Soars On Gout Treatment Approval While Arena Slumps On Weight Loss

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Market Pulse
Sept. 15, 2010, 1:14 p.m. EDT
Savient shares soar on FDA gout treatment approval

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. (SVNT 20.23, +0.25, +1.24%) jumped Wednesday after the biotech company said the Food and Drug Administration approved its gout treatment. Savient shares rose 29% to $19.09 in recent trading. The FDA approved Savient's Krystexxa for the treatment of hard-to-treat gout in adults. Gout is a type of arthritis where uric acid crystallizes in the joints causing inflammation and pain. Savient expects Krystexxa to be available on the U.S. market later in the year, and said the drug is protected by patents out to 2026

Biotech Stocks

Sept. 14, 2010, 1:11 p.m. EDT

Arena plunges on FDA news; drug indexes climb

BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Icagen Inc. were the notable standouts Tuesday, sinking as the drug sector's two main indexes climbed into positive territory.

Shares of Arena (ARNA 3.91, +0.17, +4.55%) sank 40% to $4.22 on investor concerns over whether the company's new diet drug lorcaserin will be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

In documents released Tuesday, FDA officials reviewing lorcaserin's clinical trials indicated the drug might not be effective enough to win approval. The materials were released ahead of an FDA advisory panel meeting on Friday that will discuss whether to recommend the drug for approval. See story on new diet pills.

Arena's lorcaserin is one of three new diet drugs up for U.S. approval. The other two are Vivus Inc.'s (VVUS 6.37, +0.02, +0.32%) Qnexa and Orexigen Therapeutics' (OREX 5.03, +0.13, +2.65%) Contrave.

Icagen (ICGN 0.14, -0.01, -6.62%) shares dropped 30% to 15 cents.

Early Tuesday, Icagen said it was halting enrollment in a study of its drug ICA-105665 over safety concerns. Icagen has been testing the product on patients with photosensitive epilepsy. The company said it plans to discuss the status of the study with the FDA.

The NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index (DRG 305.13, +1.27, +0.42%) advanced 1% to 304.47 and the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index (BTK 1,151, +5.23, +0.46%) was up nominally at 1,148.74

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