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Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to invest in a particular company. These updates provide information on experimental drugs and at times give an insight into the commercial potential of the candidate once it is successfully developed and commercialized.

Earlier this week, Alcobra Ltd. (ADHD) announced that it has enrolled the first patient in a randomized, placebo-controlled phase III study on metadoxine extended release (MDX) for the treatment of adults suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The study is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014.

Alcobra stated in its press release that MDX is not a stimulant like several ADHD medicines. According to the company, MDX’s novel mechanism of action does not target dopamine or norepinephrine.

ADHD is a childhood disorder that can persist even in adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 9.5% of the U.S. population aged between 3 years and 17 years are diagnosed with ADHD.

We note that Shire plc (SHPG - Analyst Report) holds a strong position in the ADHD market. Shire’s Vyvanse is approved in the U.S. as a maintenance treatment for ADHD in adults as well as children and adolescents (6 years−17 years). Other ADHD drugs in Shire’s portfolio include Adderall XR, Intuniv and Equasym.

We expect investor focus to remain on further pipeline updates from Alcobra.

Alcobra holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other better-ranked stock in the health care sector include Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI - Snapshot Report) and Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (QCOR - Analyst Report), both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Shire also carries a Zacks Rank #1.

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