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Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (SGYP - Snapshot Report) recently acquired all assets related to FV-100, an oral nucleoside analogue, from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Analyst Report). FV-100 is being developed to treat shingles, a severe painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (the same virus that causes chickenpox).

The FV-100 acquisition was the outcome of an Asset Purchase Agreement that Synergy Pharmaceuticals signed with Bristol-Myers. The candidate has already completed a phase IIa clinical trial in patients with shingles. The trial evaluated around 230 patients at two different dosage strengths. The study revealed that both the doses were well tolerated and resulted in clinically meaningful reductions in clinically significant pain.

We remind investors that in February 2012, Bristol-Myers completed the acquisition of Inhibitex, Inc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. With the Inhibitex acquisition, the shingles candidate was added to Bristol-Myers’ pipeline.

Synergy Pharmaceuticals primarily develops drugs for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and diseases. The company’s lead candidate, plecanatide (SP-304), is a guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C) receptor agonist that is being developed for GI disorders.

Notably, in October last year, Synergy Pharmaceuticals initiated dosing in a phase II/III clinical trial on plecanatide for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation. Synergy Pharmaceuticals is developing plecanatide for the treatment of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) as well. The company plans to initiate the first trial in IBS-C patients later this year.

Synergy Pharmaceuticals is also developing SP-333, which is a second generation GC-C receptor agonist targeting GI inflammatory diseases like ulcerative colitis. The candidate is currently in pre-clinical development.

Our Recommendation

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Synergy Pharmaceuticals. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.

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