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Actelion CFO has high hopes for pipeline despite lower profits

Actelion CFO has high hopes for pipeline despite lower profits

Swiss biotechnology company Actelion Ltd. announced on Thursday that the results of its late-stage clinical trial for its experimental drug macitentan would come within the next month, while a difficult market and pricing pressures bruised first-quarter earnings.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Actelion CFO Andrew Oakley said he is still optimistic about the company's pipeline, but provided no response on the results of the SERAPHIN study, which are being watched closely.

The drug is currently being tested for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PHT), or high blood pressure in the lungs' arteries. The company hopes the drug will be approved in 2013.

"It's a highly binary event, but we feel bullish," said Andrew Weiss with Vontobel in Zurich. Weiss added that the results of the macitentan trial could "transform Actelion," which may have to substantially restructure itself or even go up for sale if the drug fails.

According to Bloomberg, Actelion shares rose 2.3 percent on Thursday on higher forecasts from the drugmaker. The jump came amid broad growth in Swiss stocks, which have now climbed for three consecutive sessions.