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Theratech shares soar on U.S. drug panel ruling recommending approval for tesamorelin which reduced belly fat in HIV+ patients
  Fri May 28, 2010
TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares of Canadian drugmaker Theratechnologies (TH.TO: Quote) jumped 84 percent on Friday morning after a U.S. advisory panel recommended unanimously that the company's experimental drug to reduce abdominal fat in HIV patients be approved.
The committee voted 16-0 on Thursday to recommend that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, Egrifta. The FDA usually follows panel recommendations. Its final ruling is due by July 27.
The shares, which tumbled earlier in the week after the reviewers said safety concerns about Egrifta had to be weighed, rose C$2.44, or 84.1 percent, to C$5.34 in early activity on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The panel said that in two studies the drug clearly showed it can reduce the excess abdominal fat that can accumulate in people taking HIV medications. The committee said that benefit could boost the well-being of patients who are distressed about the weight gain.
Montreal-based Theratechnologies has an agreement with Merck KGaA's (MRCG.DE: Quote) EMD Serono division to market Egrifta in the United States and stands to collect $215 million in milestone payments and royalties from Serono if the drug is approved.

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