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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Biogen, Geron, Alexion, Regado and KYTHERA

CHICAGO, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Biogen (Nasdaq:BIIB-Free Report), Geron (Nasdaq:GERN-Free Report), Alexion (Nasdaq:ALXN-Free Report), Regado (Nasdaq:RGDO-Free Report) and KYTHERA(Nasdaq:KYTH-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com.

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Biotech Stock Roundup

Biogen (Nasdaq:BIIB-Free Report)to Be Added to S&P 100: Biogen's shares were up 3.9% on news that it will be added to the S&P 100 index after market close on Friday, Mar 21. With a market cap of more than $80 billion, Biogen is considered to be more representative of the mega-cap market space.

Geron (Nasdaq:GERN-Free Report)Plunges on FDA Clinical Hold: Geron saw its shares plunging 61.6% on news that the FDA has placed a full clinical hold on the company's sole pipeline candidate, imetelstat.

A clinical hold is an order issued by the FDA under which the sponsor of the study is asked to delay a proposed trial or suspend an ongoing trial. So, not only will the company not be able to initiate a study on imetelstat as it was planning to do, the notice will also affect currently ongoing studies on imetelstat which have been sponsored by Geron.

What is really a matter of concern is that the FDA is worried about the occurrence of persistent low-grade liver function test (LFT) abnormalities in a phase II study for essential thrombocythemia/polycythemia vera (ET/PV) as well as the potential risk of liver damage following long-term exposure to imetelstat.

Needless to say, the full clinical hold on imetelstat is a major setback for Geron. Geron has suffered imetelstat-related setbacks earlier too. Even if imetelstat studies continue, concerns about LFT abnormalities could limit the commercial potential of the candidate and restrict its long-term usage.

Alexion (Nasdaq:ALXN-Free Report)Ups Guidance: Alexion boosted its 2014 earnings and revenue guidance based on a reimbursement deal in France for Soliris. The company raised its revenue guidance by $150 million and earnings guidance by 67 cents. Investors expressed their approval and sent shares up 7.1%.

Regado (Nasdaq:RGDO-Free Report)Gains on Fast Track Status: Regado's shares popped 38.1% on news that the FDA has given fast track status to the company's anticoagulant treatment currently in a phase III program. Fast-track status means the development and review process could be speedier with more frequent and timely communication and meetings with the FDA. The candidate could also be granted priority review.

Other Developments:

KYTHERA(Nasdaq:KYTH-Free Report)Acquires Ex-U.S. Rights to ATX-101:KYTHERA regained ex-U.S. rights to its double chin reduction candidate, ATX-101, from Bayer. Shares were up 4.7% as worldwide rights to the candidate return to KYTHERA. The company intends to file for U.S. approval in the second quarter and approval in other countries over the next 12 months. KYTHERA can pursue new partnerships for ex-U.S. territories and can also be an attractive takeover candidate for companies interested in the facial aesthetics market.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

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Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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