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Arena (ARNA) Completes Enrolment in Etrasimod Phase II Study

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Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA - Free Report) announced that it has completed full enrollment with 157 patients in a phase II study evaluating its pipeline candidate etrasimod in ulcerative colitis (UC). Etrasimod (APD334) is an orally available next-generation sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator.

The primary endpoint of the study is the improvement in UC symptoms as measured by Mayo Clinic Score at 12 week compared with placebo. Top-line results are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, Arena continues to progress with its pipeline that targets different therapeutic areas.These include ralinepag (pulmonary arterial hypertension), and APD371 (pain and fibrotic diseases).The company reported positive results from a phase II study on ralinepag in July and is preparing to initiate a phase III study after discussions with the FDA

Arena’s shares have outperformed the industry so far this year. While shares of the company have soared 88.4%, the industry has registered an increase of 2.3%.



Several other companies are also evaluating some candidates for UC. Some of them include Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) , which is conducting studies to expand the label of its rheumatoid arthritis drug  Xeljanz to include the UC indication. Another company, AbbVie Inc. (ABBV - Free Report) is also looking to get its flagship product Humira approved for UC.  The company has another candidate upadacitinib/ABT-494 which is being evaluated for UC.

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

Arena carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another better-ranked health care stocks in the same space is Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND - Free Report) sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Ligand’s earnings per share estimates have moved up $3.68 to $3.70 for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company pulled off positive earnings surprises in two of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 8.22%. The share price of the company has increased 37.6% year to date.

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