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3 Humongous Health-Care Stocks This Week

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After extensive research, number-crunching, sorting, and filtering, the results are in. Here are your three most humongous performers in the world of health-care this week.

Breathing easier
Array BioPharma
(NASDAQ: ARRY  ) shares climbed nearly 18% this week. The company announced positive results from a phase 2 study of its experimental asthma drug ARRY-502.

The study included 184 patients with mild-to-moderate persistent allergic asthma. ARRY-502 met the study's primary endpoint of significant improvement in a key measure of lung function. Several secondary endpoints were also successfully met, including statistically significant improvement in asthma control and symptom-free days during treatment.

Piper Jaffray bumped its price target for Array up from $7 to $10 after the good results were announced. That represents more than a 50% upside potential from the stock's current price. Array says that it's now looking for an "appropriate partner" to help complete development and potentially market ARRY-502.

An "alley-oop" from the opponent
(UNKNOWN: RNA.DL  ) shares made something of a slam dunk this week, jumping more than 16%. That dunk was made with what amounts to an "alley-oop" from its primary rival, Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT  ) .

Sarepta announced on Thursday that it plans to seek approval for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or DMD, drug eteplirsen without assurances from the Food and Drug Administration about an accelerated approval pathway. The biotech completed a phase 2 study for eteplirsen that showed impressive results. However, the small number of patients involved could present a hurdle for FDA approval.

In the meantime, Prosensa, along with partner GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) , continue to plug ahead with a phase 3 study of DMD drug drisapersen that includes 186 participants -- much larger than the 12 boys in Sarepta's mid-stage study. Initial results from the study are expected in late 2013. An FDA approval could be forthcoming as early as the second half of next year.

Lunging forward
(UNKNOWN: ITMN.DL  ) announced second-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Higher-than-expected revenue helped shares advance almost 16% for the week.

The company's good news stemmed from strong sales growth for Esbriet, which is used in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive form of lung disease. Intermune reported that sales of the drug were $14.4 million during the second quarter. Analysts expected $12 million.

With solid sales in the last quarter, Intermune now expects full-year revenue of $55 million to $70 million. That's a nice jump from the previous revenue guidance of $40 million to $55 million.

Esbriet was first launched in Germany in 2011. Intermune has rolled the drug out in 13 other European nations. However, the big U.S. market still remains to be tapped. The FDA rejected approval of Esbriet in 2010. Intermune has a late-stage test under way in the U.S. with results expected in the second quarter of 2014.

Best of the best
It's a tough decision between this week's humongous stocks as to which is the best pick. All three have had great years thus far and have potential to keep moving up.

All things considered, though, my hunch is to go with Array BioPharma. It's been a long time since a new allergic asthma drug has been introduced. Array definitely needs a partner to tackle the huge asthma market. I think it will find one and do well in the years ahead.

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