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Synergy rises after chairman buys more shares

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of drug developer Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose Friday after its chairman disclosed that he'd bought more of the company's stock.

THE SPARK: In a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gabriele Cerrone disclosed the purchase of 8,000 shares for $4.42 per share. Cerrone owns 1.1 million shares of Synergy, or a 1.2-percent stake. That makes him one of the company's largest shareholders.

THE BIG PICTURE: Synergy has no approved drugs. Its most advanced experimental product is plecanatide, which is being studied as a treatment for chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. The New York company is also testing a drug candidate called SP-333 as a treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases including ulcerative colitis.

In April the company sold 16.4 million shares and raised $84.4 million after discounts, commissions and expenses were deducted. Synergy said it will use the proceeds to fund research and development on plecanatide and other drugs and for other general corporate purposes. The offering was priced at $5.50 per share, a 24-percent discount to the April 9 closing price.

SHARE ACTION: Up 22 cents, or 5 percent, to close at $4.61. The stock has traded between $2.98 and $7.44 in the last 12 months.