UPDATE 1-Venaxis appendicitis test succeeds in trial; shares soar

Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:01am EDT

* Co expects to submit marketing application in next few weeks

* Shares jump 44 pct to a near two-year high (Adds detail, background, shares)

March 13 (Reuters) - Venaxis Inc said its appendicitis test correctly predicted results in 97 percent of patients in a clinical trial, sending its shares up 44 percent to a nearly two-year high.

The biotechnology company said it expected to submit a marketing application for the test to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the next few weeks.

Venaxis, formerly known as AspenBio Pharma, received marketing approval for the APPY1 test in Europe in January 2013.

The test is designed to rapidly help identify patients at low risk of acute appendicitis and manage the large number of children and adolescents who enter hospital emergency rooms with abdominal pain.

If appendicitis - the inflammation of the appendix - is suspected, physicians often suggest surgery without conducting diagnostic testing, since prompt surgery decreases the chance of a burst appendix, a potentially fatal outcome.

But the condition can be hard to diagnose, especially in children, the elderly and women of childbearing age, because its main symptom, abdominal pain, is similar to other conditions including bladder infections and gastritis.

Appendicitis is the leading cause of emergency abdominal surgery in the United States, and occurs mostly in individuals aged between 10 and 30, according to National Institute of Health data.

The Colorado-based company's stock was up 25 percent at $3.39 in morning trade on the Nasdaq. Nearly 6.7 million shares changed hands by 1057 ET, more than 17 times their 10-day moving average.

(Reporting by Esha Dey and Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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