Rumors Spur Drug Company Stock Trading

February 14, 1986|ROBERT HANLEY | Times Staff Writer

Apparently acting on rumors of pending federal approval of the proposed AIDS drug Isoprinosine, Wall Street speculators Thursday pushed Newport Pharmaceuticals International Inc. common stock onto the over-the-counter market's most-active list for the second day in a row.

Nearly 10% of the company's outstanding common shares changed hands during the day.

Also feeding the speculation was Newport's announcement Thursday that Michael Chirigos, head of the immunology department of the federal Institutes of Health, will join the company this month as its vice president of research and development.

Trading was halted temporarily Thursday by the National Assn. of Securities Dealers pending a press conference called by the company to debunk the rumors.

However, by the close of trading, Newport's stock gained $1.13 a share to close at $14.38. Volume was 969,000 shares out of 10 million shares outstanding.

On Wednesday, Newport closed at $13.25 a share, up $1.38, on volume of 616,000 shares traded.

"I have no idea why the stock is trading the way it is," commented Luana Kruse, a Newport spokeswoman.

Last September, the Newport Beach company became the first drug maker to apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of an anti-viral drug for use against the AIDS virus.

The FDA currently permits the use of Isoprinosine on a limited "compassionate care" basis, but the drug still is under review and has not been approved for wider use.

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