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Biotech Industry Outperforming Markets in 2017: Latest Reports on Benitec Biopharma and Tandem Diabetes Care

NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / January 18, 2017 / Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies took a hit last week after President Trump criticized the drug industry at a press conference.

"We have to get our drug industry coming back. Our drug industry has been disastrous. They're leaving left and right. They supply our drugs but they don't make them here, to a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they're getting away with murder. Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, a lot of power. And there's very little bidding on drugs. We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don't bid properly. We're going to start bidding. We're going to save billions of dollars over a period of time." said President Trump.

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The Biotech Industry has outperformed the broader markets, despite all the negative press drug manufacturers have been receiving. The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF and the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF have posted gains of 3.44 and 7.16 percent, respectively, year-to-date, compared to gains of 0.32 percent and 1.3 percent for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index.

Benitec Biopharma Ltd. (NASDAQ: BNTC)

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Benitec Biopharma's shares soared 62.16 percent to close at $3.00 a share Tuesday. The stock traded between $2.35 and $4.40 on volume of 8.88 million shares traded. The company has announced that the European Commission, based on recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products, has granted Orphan Drug Designation to BB-301 as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of patients with oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD). BB-301 is currently in preclinical development, Benitec plans to IND-enabling studies are planned to be initiated later this year. Entry into the clinic with a Phase I/II study in OPMD patients is anticipated in 2018, subject to toxicity results and future regulatory review.

"We are very excited that BB-301 has received Orphan Drug Designation in Europe from the EMA COMP. This is a key program in our pipeline and we are happy to see the EMA recognising the urgent and unmet medical need for a safe and effective treatment for OPMD patients. We believe that our innovative approach may offer new treatment options for patients who might not otherwise be able to receive benefit in treating their disease. Having European Orphan Drug Designation will allow us to optimise steps to further advance BB-301 towards regulatory approval," said David Suhy, Chief Scientific Officer.

Tandem Diabetes Care Inc. (NASDAQ: TNDM)

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Tandem Diabetes Care's shares spiked 14.58 percent to close at $2.75 a share Tuesday. The stock traded between $2.50 and $2.85 on volume of 708,259 shares traded, up from average daily volume of 363,630. The Company manufactures and sells a family of insulin pump products. Tandem reported pump shipments totaled 3,896 for the third quarter of 2016, an increase of 14 percent when compared to 3,431 pumps shipped in the third quarter of 2015. GAAP sales totaled $12.3 million for the third quarter of 2016 against sales of $15.7 million reported in same quarter prior year. The company has reported net loss of $29.8 million or $0.97 a share in third quarter of 2016, against net loss of $19.6 million or $0.65 a share reported in same quarter prior year.

"For three consecutive years we have offered the #1 rated insulin pump and maintained a #1 customer service rating, resulting in the tremendous growth of our installed base which is now more than 46,000 people," said Kim Blickenstaff, President and CEO of Tandem Diabetes Care, in the company's third quarter news release. "Our family of products, headlined by our recent launch of the t:slim X2 Insulin Pump, positions us well in an increasingly competitive environment."

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