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BioLineRx (BLRX) announced new data from a phase IIa study on its pipeline candidate BL-7040. BioLineRx is developing BL-7040 for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Results revealed significant improvement in disease measurements in biopsies taken from IBD patients treated with BL-7040. The histological and biochemical analyses of inflammation indicators back the initial positive results of the study, reported in April 2013. The initial results revealed that BL-7040 was safe and effective in treating patients suffering from ulcerative colitis which is a form of IBD.

In the phase IIa study, Biopsies taken from participants before and after treatment were collected and randomly assigned to either a histological evaluation or to an assessment for levels of cytokines, considered as pro-inflammatory bio-markers. Histological evaluation in patients treated with BL-7040 revealed significant reduction in neutrophil levels.

The level of the pro-inflammatory cytokine - interleukin 6 (IL-6) is an additional measure of IBD severity. Significant reduction was also seen in IL-6 in patients treated with BL-7040. Data also showed clinical improvement in patients with reduced cytokine levels.

We note that in Jun 2011, BioLineRx entered into a licensing agreement with Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. for BL-7040.

BioLineRx mentioned in its press release that sales generated from existing IBD drugs in the U.S. were $5.6 billion in 2012. Companies like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Analyst Report) and Shire (SHPG - Analyst Report) also have a presence in the IBD market.

BioLineRx, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Investors interested in the biopharmaceutical industry may consider Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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