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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Pharmacyclics, AbbVie, Gilead, Amgen and Celgene.

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SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Pharmacyclics (Nasdaq:PCYC-Free Report), AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV-Free Report), Gilead (Nasdaq:GILD-Free Report), Amgen (Nasdaq:AMGN-Free Report) and Celgene (Nasdaq:CELG-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc.,

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Biotech Stock Roundup

The usual regulatory and other updates from the biotech sector were overshadowed last week by the highly awaited annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The meeting, held in Chicago from May 30Jun 3, provides companies with a platform to showcase their data to scientists, physicians, the investment community and others.

As expected, a main area of focus this year was immuno-oncology which has been attracting a lot of interest. Immuno-oncology therapies have the potential to change the treatment paradigm for cancer -- they use the natural capability of the patient's own immune system to fight the cancer. Several deals have been signed in the recent past between companies developing immuno-oncology treatments.

Outside the immuno-oncology area, impressive data was presented by companies like Pharmacyclics (Nasdaq:PCYC-Free Report) and AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV-Free Report). Here's a look at some of the biotech companies that made waves at ASCO 2014.

Pharmacyclics' Imbruvica Continues to Impress: Pharmacyclics was there at ASCO with data on Imbruvica from several studies. But the standout data was from the phase III RESONATE study – a head-to-head comparison between Imbruvica and GlaxoSmithKline's Arzerra. Patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) experienced a significant improvement in progression free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and overall response rate (ORR) when treated with Imbruvica.

Imbruvica, which has blockbuster potential, delivered sales of $56.2 million in its first full quarter on the market. It is being developed for a wide range of tumor types and label expansion would bring in additional revenues.

Gilead (Nasdaq:GILD-Free Report) Showcases Idelalisib Data: Gilead presented a second interim analysis of a phase III study evaluating idelalisib and Rituxan for relapsed CLL – significant improvement in PFS and ORR compared to placebo plus Rituxan, with acceptable safety was observed. Idelalisib is under priority review for this indication with a response expected by Aug 6.

Chances of gaining approval look high considering the data on the candidate.

Solid Data on AbbVie's Experimental Leukemia Drug: AbbVie's experimental leukemia drug, ABT-199/GDC-0199, continues to impress. An overall response rate of 84% was seen in relapsed/refractory CLL patients treated with ABT-199/GDC-0199 plus Rituxan in a phase Ib study. The data looks good and bodes well for the continued development of the candidate.ABT-199/GDC-0199 is currently in pivotal phase II and phase III studies for several types of cancer.

AbbVie also presented preliminary results from an ongoing phase I study on ABT-414, which is being evaluated for glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer.

Amgen (Nasdaq:AMGN-Free Report) and Celgene (Nasdaq:CELG-Free Report) were also at ASCO this year.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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