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Arca can start human testing of heart drug Gencaro

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (AP) -- Federal regulators gave the go-ahead to Arca Biopharma to begin human clinical testing of its treatment for atrial fibrillation, the company said Wednesday.

Arca believes it has identified genetic variations that predict whether a patient will be helped by treatment with the drug Gencaro. The company said Gencaro could be the first genetically targeted therapy for atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat.

The company wants to start a mid-stage clinical trial of the drug during the first quarter of 2014. If an early review of the study is successful, Arca can expand it into a late-stage study that can be used as the basis for an application for marketing approval.

Shares of Arca Biopharma Inc. rose 15 cents, or 10.4 percent, to $1.59 in morning trading.