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ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARIA - Snapshot Report) recently announced the closure of its previously announced public offering. ARIAD Pharma priced the public offering of 15.3 million common shares at $19.60 per share, including 1.18 million shares sold to underwriters to cover the over-allotment options.

ARIAD Pharma plans to use the net proceeds from this offering – approximately $310 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering costs – to facilitate the sales, marketing, manufacturing and distribution of its oncology candidate Iclusig (ponatinib) on approval. The company also intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to develop its other pipeline candidates.

We believe that investor focus will remain on the approval of Iclusig. The candidate is under review in the US and EU for treating patients suffering from resistant or intolerant chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) or Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). A decision from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected by Mar 27, 2013.

In Aug 2012, ARIAD Pharma submitted a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for the candidate for the same indication to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). ARIAD Pharma had requested accelerated assessment of the MAA for the candidate, which was granted by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP). ARIAD Pharma expects the candidate to be cleared in the EU in the third quarter of 2013.

ARIAD Pharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Pharma stocks, which currently appear to be more attractive, include Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX - Snapshot Report), WuXi PharmaTech Inc. (WX - Snapshot Report) and Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP - Analyst Report). All three companies carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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