Article Bloomberg

NicOx Shares Rise to Five-Month High on Drug Trial (Update2)

By Albertina Torsoli

April 21 (Bloomberg) -- NicOx SA, the French drugmaker developing treatments with Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co., rose to a five-month high in Paris trading on optimism a mid-stage study of a glaucoma treatment will show promise.

NicOx jumped 2.12 euros, or 18 percent, to 14.20 euros, giving the Sophia-Antipolis, France-based company a market value of 671.5 million euros ($1.07 billion). The stock was the biggest gainer on France's SBF-250 Index today.

``There is expectation that the data on the phase II trial on glaucoma will be good, as what we've seen so far is encouraging, and there is speculation that Pfizer may want to become more involved with NicOx,'' said Robin Campbell, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd. in London, in a phone interview. He has a ``buy'' recommendation on the stock.

The French company said last month that Pfizer started the second phase of a clinical study in the U.S. of their jointly developed compound to treat glaucoma. On March 3, it said the first results of the study would be announced in April.

NicOx hasn't set a date for the release of the results, Chief Financial Officer Eric Castaldi said in a phone interview today. The drugmaker will pick the date ``together with Pfizer,'' he said.

``We are still working on the data,'' Castaldi said. ``We continue working. We will say nothing in advance. I don't know where the speculation comes from.''

NicOx will publish first-quarter sales on April 23. Castaldi declined to give comments on the company's performance for the first three months of the year. He said NicOx is ``in line'' with its own internal sales targets for 2008.

NicOx has jumped about 29 percent this year, beating the 12 percent decline of the SBF-250 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: April 21, 2008 12:06 EDT

Source : Bloomberg

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