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Omeros Corporation (OMER - Snapshot Report) recently announced that it has commenced enrollment for a phase II study on its pipeline candidate OMS824, after reporting positive data from a phase I study earlier in the month.

We note that OMS824 is the lead compound in Omeros' phosphodiesterase 10 (PDE10) program. Omeros is developing the candidate as a PDE10 inhibitor, which is an enzyme expressed in areas of the brain linked to a wide range of diseases, including Huntington's disease and schizophrenia, affecting cognition.

The phase II trial will evaluate OMS824’s tolerability, safety, pharmacokinetics and potential interactions with other related medications in patients suffering from stable schizophrenia.

The patients will be administered various doses of OMS824 for two weeks to assess the effect of OMS824 as a monotherapy and in combination with other antipsychotic medications. Shares reacted positively to the news of the initiation of the phase II study.

We note that, last week, Omeros released new positive data from a phase I study evaluating the pharmacokinetics of OMS824.

The encouraging data further support the fact that OMS824 can achieve superior target engagement with lesser side effects in comparison to other PDE10 inhibitors in development. Moreover, OMS824 was well tolerated at the highest multiple-dose level administered.

Meanwhile, we remind investors that Omeros is currently looking to get its candidate, OMS302, approved in the U.S. and EU for the treatment of patients undergoing intraocular lens replacement (ILR) surgery.

Omeros expects to launch OMS302 both in the U.S. and the EU in the second half of 2014, pending regulatory approval. 

We are encouraged by the pipeline progress at Omeros.

Omeros currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  Stocks that currently look attractive include Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB - Analyst Report), Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD - Analyst Report) and Affymetrix Inc. (AFFX - Analyst Report). All three carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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