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XOMA Corporation (XOMA - Snapshot Report) recently announced interim data from a phase II proof-of-concept (POC) study on gevokizumab, which is being developed for the treatment of inflammatory facial lesions in patients suffering from moderate to severe acne vulgaris.

Gevokizumab is an interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) modulating antibody. XOMA enrolled approximately 125 patients for the phase II study till Jan 08, 2013. But the interim results from the study considered data on approximately 92 patients.

Preliminary results from the study showed that the 0.6mg/kg dose of gevokizumab demonstrated significant reduction of 19 in mean inflammatory lesion count compared to that of a reduction of 13 in patients under placebo group on day 42. The difference was maintained through out the study.

At day 84, the 0.6mg/kg dose group demonstrated a clinical and statistical improvement in Investigator Global Assessment (IGA), representing a 31% responder rate compared to that of a 5% responder rate in the placebo group. On the other hand, the 0.2mg/kg dose group of the candidate did not show any clinical or statistical differences compared to that of placebo in inflammatory lesion count or in IGA.

We remind investors that the acne vulgaris market currently has companies like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Analyst Report).

We note that, in Jan 2011, XOMA entered into a partnership with Les Laboratoires Servier to develop and commercialize gevokizumab. In Nov 2012, XOMA and its partner Les Laboratoires Servier initiated another proof-of-concept study to evaluate patients who have experienced acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in the past three to twelve months.

Currently, we have a long-term Neutral recommendation on XOMA. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

However, other pharma companies that currently look better-positioned include Cambrex Corporation (CBM - Snapshot Report) and Targacept Inc. (TRGT - Snapshot Report). Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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