SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roberto Medrano, Dmitriy Stepanov, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Sean Houghton

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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Can-Fite, Amgen, Cubist, Immunomedics and NPS Pharmaceuticals

CHICAGO, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Can-Fite (AMEX:CANF-Free Report), Amgen (Nasdaq:AMGN-Free Report), Cubist (Nasdaq:CBST-Free Report), Immunomedics (Nasdaq:IMMU-Free Report) and NPS Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:NPSP-Free Report).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Biotech Stock Roundup

It was yet another slow week for the biotech sector with very few updates making an impact. Newsmakers included Can-Fite (AMEX:CANF-Free Report), Amgen (Nasdaq:AMGN-Free Report) and Cubist (Nasdaq:CBST-Free Report).

Disappointing Data Pulls Down Can-Fite: Can-Fite ended 2013 on a disappointing note with shares plunging 32.4% on data from a phase III study on CF101. CF101 failed to achieve the primary as well as secondary endpoints in the study that was conducted in patients with moderate-to-severe dry eye syndrome.

Amgen's Romosozumab Fares Well in Mid-Stage Study: Amgen's shares were up 1.5% on positive data from a mid-stage study on romosozumab. The study was conducted in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density (BMD). Treatment with romosozumab for 12 months resulted in a significant increase in BMD at the lumbar spine, total hip and femoral neck compared to placebo.

Moreover, exploratory analyses showed that BMD increased significantly at the lumbar spine and hip compared to Fosamax and Forteo (currently approved treatments). The data looks good but it remains to be seen how romosozumab performs in ongoing phase III studies.

Priority Review for Cubist Drug: The FDA agreed to review Cubist's experimental antibiotic tedizolid phosphate (TR-701) on a priority basis. This means a response should be out by Jun 20. Cubist is looking to get tedizolid approved for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections. The EU marketing application for the antibiotic will be submitted in the first half of this year. Cubist shares gained 1.3% on the news. Tedizolid became a part of Cubist's pipeline following its Sep 2013 acquisition of Trius.

Patent Protection for Immunomedics (Nasdaq:IMMU-Free Report): IMMU shares have been gaining steadily ever since the company received additional patent protection for its antibody-drug conjugates. This is good news for the company as the patents will cover IMMU-132 and IMMU-130, both phase II oncology candidates.

Orphan Drug Status for NPS' Natpara: NPS Pharmaceuticals' (Nasdaq:NPSP-Free Report) shares inched up 2.1% with the company gaining orphan drug status in Europe for Natpara for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism. Natpara already has orphan drug status for this indication in the U.S. where it is currently under FDA review. Orphan drug status brings several incentives like protocol assistance, scientific advice, and exclusivity once the drug is on the market.

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