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Local Tech Wire

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wall Street bulls stampeded Friday for shares in (Nasdaq: TRGT) after the drug development company announced strong clinical trial results for its major depressive disorder (MDD) treatment candidate.

Targecept shares roared to a record high of $24.50 within minutes after trading opened. The 20-percent fever cooled a bit later, but Targacept still closed up $3.72, or 18.5 percent, for the day at $23.81.

More than 1.7 million shares, or nearly six times the daily average, changed hands.

The trial news, which was announced after the markets closed on Thursday, also led to an increase in the stock’s value in the eyes of analysts.

Needham & Co. upgraded Targacept to “buy” from “hold” with a target price of $26 per shares. Needham believes the drug has blockbuster potential.

Bret Holly, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., said the trial results were “a best case scenario, with the drug’s efficacy far exceeding our already high expectations.”

The compound, TC-5214, produced strong efficacy in patients, Targacept said.

Parterned with AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline on other projects, Targacept does not yet have a commercial partner for the compound.

Earlier this month, the company raised some $45 million through an offering of 2.2 million shares.