Shares of Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: TLCR) touched a new 52-week high of $25.80 on Tuesday. The biotechnology company's stock has been rising since Thursday when it received orphan drug designation from the European Commission for the development of Plasmin, derived from human plasma, to treat acute peripheral arterial occlusion.

The Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-headquartered Talecris said on March 3 that it would get ten years of market exclusivity if the Plasmin product is the first to be approved in the European Union. The condition affects up to 1.7 per 10,000 people in the European Union each year.

Talecris is currently investigating Plasmin in a phase 2 clinical trial designed to assess its ability to treat acute peripheral arterial occlusion or aPAO, a condition in which arterial blood flow to the extremities, usually the legs, is blocked by a clot.

Plasmin is a stabilized formulation of the naturally-occurring blood enzyme Plasmin, which dissolves blood clots by breaking down their fibrin matrices and is being investigated for its ability to restore blood flow.

Plasmin, derived from human plasma, is a direct-acting thrombolytic that exerts its effects directly at the site of the clot. Indirect-acting thrombolytics, such as Plasminogen activators, target clots indirectly by first stimulating the production of Plasmin.

Plasminogen activators typically require a prolonged infusion averaging 24 to 36 hours, which can increase the risk of bleeding complications. Talecris received orphan drug designation for Plasmin from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2009.

On March 4, European plasma products company Grifols S.A. and Talecris Biotherapeutics said the outside date under their merger agreement for closing their pending merger transaction has been extended to June 30 from March 6, 2011. Grifols has extended the financing and financing commitments from its lenders to June 30, as well.

Grifols is continuing to work with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to obtain its clearance of the proposed transaction. As previously disclosed, Grifols has agreed with FTC not to close the merger transaction without providing to the FTC at least thirty days advanced notice.

Talecris Biotherapeutics stock gapped open marginally lower on March 4 at $25.39 compared to Thursday's close of $25.40, while reaching a new 52-week high of $25.65 on Friday. But on March 7, the stock surpassed this level to reach a new 52-week high of $25.74.

But the stock has not stopped with that high yet. During Tuesday's regular trading, the stock surpassed this level to hit a new 52-week high of $25.80. The stock closed Tuesday's regular trading up 0.16 percent at $25.76 on a volume of 1.10 million shares on the NASDAQ stock market. The stock traded between $15.70 and $25.80.