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Analyst Blog

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACAD - Free Report) announced the initiation of a phase II study; ADVANCE, to evaluate pimavanserin for treating patients with negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

ADVANCE is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and multi-center study designed for examining the efficacy and safety of adjunctive use of pimavanserin in treating the above patient group.

Pimavanserin is already approved for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis under the trade name Nuplazid. Nuplazid was commercially launched in May this year.

According to the company’s press reelase, 40–50% of patients suffering from schizophrenia have prominent negative symptoms. Currently no drug is approved by the FDA for the treatment of these symptoms. Pimavanserin is selective serotonin inverse agonist (SSIA) preferentially targeting 5-HT2A receptors.

Meanwhile, the company is forging ahead with its multi-year plans of developing pimavanserin in indications beyond Parkinson’s disease psychosis. The company has completed enrollment in a phase II exploratory study on pimavanserin for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Top-line results from this study are expected to be announced by the end of 2016.

ACADIA currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (ABUS - Free Report) , Heska Corporation (HSKA - Free Report) and Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK - Free Report) . Anika and Heska sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Arbutus carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Arbutus’ loss estimates narrowed from $2.15 to $1.77 for 2016 and from $1.96 to $1.51 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted positive surprises in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 59.31%.

Heska’s earnings estimates increased from $1.13 to $1.35 for 2016 and from $1.38 to $1.53 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted positive surprises in all of the four trailing quarters, with an average beat of 301.64%.

Anika’s earnings estimates increased from $1.96 to $2.06 for 2016 and from $2.03 to $2.09 for 2017 over the last 60 days. The company posted positive surprises in all of the four trailing quarters, with an average beat of 33.14%.

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