J&J, Merck & Lilly Collaborate; AspenBio Releases Pricing: Healthcare Business Recap

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) and Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) are working together in a worldwide project to quicken the pace of patient tests of experimental drugs, and having them run faster and more efficiently. In this effort, each firm is contributing to a database of doctors, hospitals and clinics that have been vetted to participate in the complex tests needed to determine whether an experimental medicine is effective and safe, which might eventually help new medicines to become cleared and reach patients sooner. In the meantime, other pharmaceutical and biotech companies are invited to contribute their own information to the databank that J&J’s Janssen Research & Development division has established.

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In a Thursday press release, the in-vitro diagnostic firm AspenBio Pharma (NASDAQ:APPY) reported the pricing of its previously announced underwritten public offering, as 1,476,000 shares of common stock at $2.10 per share. It is estimated that the gross proceeds from this offering should be about $3.1 million, before the deduction of underwriting discounts and commissions, along with other estimated offering costs.

Shares of the specialty pharmaceutical firm AcelRx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACRX) moved up more than 15 percent on the day following a press release of top-line data which indicated that the open-label Phase 3 study of its investigational sublingual Sufentanil NanoTab patient-controlled analgesia System met its primary endpoint of non-inferiority in patient global assessment with a method of pain control in comparison to intravenous PCA with morphine. Further, additional analyses indicated that in this evaluation the NanoTab System was statistically significantly superior to IV morphine for the PGA measurement.

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