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Drug for Rare Disease May Lift AVI BioPharma Shares: Barron's

Update Date: Apr 02, 2012 02:17 PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AVI BioPharma Inc's shares could get a boost if its drug targeting treatment for a rare fatal form of muscular dystrophy proves to be effective in clinical drug trials, according to an article in the April 2 edition of Barron's.

Clinical trial results for AVI's drug Eteplirsen were expected later this month, Barron's said. The drug is designed to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that develops in early childhood and most often results in the death by age 30. The disease strikes only boys, about one in 3,500, and affects more than 30,000 people in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Favorable results could boost AVI's shares, which have doubled this year, Barron's said. Its shares closed at $1.54 on the Nasdaq on Friday.

ThinkEquity analyst Marko Kozul has targeted AVI shares at $4, Barron's said.

AVI also was developing drugs for Ebola and Marburg viruses with U.S. Department of Defense funding, Barron's said.

(Reporting By Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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