Sector Update: Healthcare; Concordia Healthcare Begins Phase 3 Trial of PHOTOFRIN in Bile Duct Cancer, AEterna Zentaris Signs Commercial Agreement with ASCEND Theapeutics

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Healthcare stocks were mixed in afternoon trading, with the S&P/TSX Healthcare index down 2.2%.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO): -4.1%

Concordia Healthcare (CXR.TO): +0.9%


AEterna Zentaris (AEZ.TO): +1.6%

Catamaran (CCT.TO): -2.8%

Oncolytics Biotech (ONC.TO): +0.7%

In corporate news, Concordia Healthcare has begun the third phase of the clinical trial to treat a rare form of bile duct cancer for which there currently is no acceptable therapy.

The specialty healthcare company is working with its Pinnacle Biologics subsidiary will study the efficacy and safety of photodynamic therapy with PHOTOFRIN (porfimer sodium) for injection as treatment for unresectable advanced perihilar cholangiocarcinoma Bismuth type III/IV.

PHOTOFRIN has received an FDA orphan drug designation to treat cholangiocarcinoma.

Meanwhile, AEterna Zentaris has signed an agreement with ASCEND Theapeutics for the two pharmaceutical firms to promote each other's products. Under the terms of deal, expected to start in Q4 2014, Canada-based AEterna Zentaris will use its newly established commercial structure to market, in specific U.S. territories, ASCEND's EstroGel, an FDA approved estrogen replacement therapy.

ASCEND would market, in specific U.S. territories, Macrilen, AEterna Zentaris' product for use in the evaluation of adult growth-hormone deficiency. The FDA is currently reviewing a New Drug Application for Macrilen. AEterna Zentaris anticipates using approximately 20 sales representatives to cover its assigned U.S. specific territories, while ASCEND will use its existing sales force of over 35 sales representatives to cover its territories. Overall, more than 50 sales representatives are expected to promote both EstroGel and Macrilen.



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