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Got The Blues? Cephalon Can Help.



March 17, 2009 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: CEPH

Got The Blues? Cephalon Can Help. Lisa LaMotta, 03.17.09, 11:30 AM EDT Company's stock rises on positive test results from its depression drug Nuvigil.
Cephalon, Inc.03/17/2009 12:42PM ET$69.03$5.849.24%1 day3 mo1 yearAdvancedAt A GlanceChartNewsPeopleBATS Real-Time Market Data by Xignite

Cephalon investors got a bit of a high on Tuesday morning when the biopharma announced that its drug Nuvigil showed positive effects in a mid-stage study to treat depression.

Shares of Cephalon (nasdaq: CEPH - news - people ) jumped 6.5%, or $4.08, to $67.27, in morning trading on Tuesday.

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Nuvigil, a drug that is meant to serve as an adjunct treatment for patients with bipolar disorder, treats depressive moods linked to the condition. The eight-week study of 257 patients showed that Nuvigil helped improve the depressive symptoms when other treatments failed to manage the condition completely.

"We are encouraged that the results of this study point toward the potential utility of Nuvigil in managing the depressive episodes in bipolar I disorder," said Dr. Lesley Russell, Chief Medical Officer at Cephalon. "We now plan to conduct phase three trials to further evaluate the efficacy and safety of Nuvigil in this patient population."

The incidence of mania, hypomania, depression and suicidal ideation were comparable between the Nuvigil group and the placebo group. Patients on Nuvigil were more likely than the placebo group to exhibit anxiety and restlessness.

The drug is already prescribed to treat several sleeping disorders, including excessive sleepiness associated with treated obstructive sleep apnea and shift work sleep disorder.

Cephalon is hoping to use Nuvigil as a revenue replacement for Provigil, a similar drug that may face generic competition as early as 2012. Baird analyst Thomas Russo said that the mid-stage data is a good step toward differentiating Nuvigil from Provigil. Cephalon is currently conducting late-stage tests on Nuvigil for jetlag and mid-stage tests for the negative effects of schizophrenia.

The company is likely to pursue approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for all of these conditions.

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