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Arena (ARNA) Posts Favorable Top-Line Data on Pain Candidate

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Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA - Free Report) announced positive top-line data from a phase IIa study, evaluating its investigational cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) olorinab (APD371) for the treatment of gastrointestinal pain associated with Crohn's disease.

The phase IIa study evaluated two doses of olorinab (25 mg and 100 mg), administered orally thrice a day for eight weeks to patients with Crohn's disease experiencing abdominal pain. The study enrolled 14 patients with a mean baseline average abdominal pain score (AAPS) of at least 5.6.

Shares of Arena have rallied 26.2% so far this year versus the industry’s decrease of 3.9%.

Treatment with olorinab led to a statistically significant reduction in abdominal pain during eight weeks of treatment. The data also showed that all patients with evaluable data at week 8 exhibited a pre-defined clinical response of ≥30% change from baseline in AAPS. Olorinab was well tolerated with no new safety signals observed and no serious adverse events reported as well.

Early positive results from the study suggest that olorinab has potential to treat other gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Thus, Arena expects to progress the olorinab clinical program for such patients. The company plans to provide additional detail on the development path during its research and development (R&D) day on Oct 4.

Arena has a few early- to mid-stage candidates in its pipeline. Ralinepag, which is being developed for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (“PAH”), was pushed forward to phase III development level during the second quarter of 2018. Two other phase III analyses are likely to start by 2018-end and early 2019 on the candidate. The candidate has orphan drug status for the indication.

Another interesting candidate etrasimod is currently being evaluated in a phase II assessment for treating primary biliary cholangitis. The company is on track to discuss the design for a phase II/III investigation on Crohn's disease as well as a phase III study on Ulcerative colitis.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Arena currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND - Free Report) , Cambrex Corporation (CBM - Free Report) and Anika Therapeutics Inc. (ANIK - Free Report) , all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Ligand’s earnings estimates have been revised 28.4% upward for 2018 and 6.5% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has skyrocketed 96% so far this year.

Cambrex’s earnings estimates have moved 3.5% north for 2018 and 2% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has surged 31.3% year to date.

Anika’s earnings estimates have been raised 66.7% for 2018 and 46.1% for 2019 over the past 60 days.

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