OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals of Bothell puts cancer drug placed on fast track

OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals of Bothell said its lead drug candidate, OGX-011, received a fast-track designation from the U.S. Food &Drug Administration as a possible treatment for prostate cancer. OGX-011 is undergoing phase 2 clinical trials against a variety of cancers, and the new designation could speed up the regulatory approval process. In response to the news, OncoGenex’s shares rose 64 percent, or $3.08, to close at $7.90.

Market closes with big gains

Wall Street capped a volatile week with sharp gains Friday as oil prices tumbled and after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said inflation pressures are likely to moderate. The Dow Jones industrial average rose nearly 200 points to 11,628.06, near its highs of the session. Speculation that Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. could be sold helped buoy the financial sector and the overall market. Analysts warned this week that the investment bank could book large write-downs for bad debt.

Crude oil prices plunge $6 a barrel

Oil prices tumbled more than $6 a barrel Friday — the biggest one-day percentage plunge in nearly four years — after a rebounding dollar and a Russian troop pullback in Georgia sparked another frenzied sell-off. Crude’s nosedive wiped out all the gains from the previous day’s big rally and reaffirmed the belief that high energy prices are still cutting into consumer demand for fossil fuels in the U.S. and overseas. Light, sweet crude for October delivery fell $6.59, or 5.43 percent, to settle at $114.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Investors leery of Feddie Mac

Freddie Mac talked to investors this week about possibly buying its stock to raise much-needed capital, but billionaire investor Warren Buffett said he passed on an opportunity to help the troubled mortgage giant. The likelihood Freddie will find willing investors took another hit after Moody’s Investors Service lowered the company’s preferred stock ratings and those of its sister company, Fannie Mae, to near-junk status.

Automakers seek government loans

Automakers plan to urge Congress to support funding up to $50 billion in low-interest loans over three years to help them modernize their assembly plants and develop the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles. Industry officials said the loans, which are twice the amount authorized in last year’s energy bill, are a top priority when Congress returns next month because of the declining fortunes of Detroit’s big automakers and ever-tightening credit markets.

From Herald staff and news services

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