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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
June 10, 2014
12:13 EDTIDIX, ACHN, ABBV, MRK, GILDAchillion surges after FDA lifts hold, buyout speculation continues
Shares of hepatitis C treatment maker Achillion (ACHN) are rising dramatically for a second day after Merck (MRK) yesterday announced that it would acquire another company in the space. Meanwhile, Achillion announced today that it had received favorable news from the FDA about resuming certain clinical trials and added that it had begun a Phase I trial of one of its hepatitis C, or HCV, treatments, ACH-3422. WHAT'S NEW: Achillion is rallying for a second straight day after Merck announced that it had acquired Idenix (IDIX). Like Achillion, Idenix is a smaller company that has developed HCV treatments and, also like Idenix, one of Achillion's HCV treatments is a nucleotide. Achillion earlier today announced that the FDA had removed its clinical hold on sovaprevir. As a result of the FDA's decision, Achillion will be able to conduct clinical trials of the drug, the company stated. The FDA placed a hold on the drug last year after a number of patients developed elevated liver enzymes while taking it. Also today, Achillion announced that it had begun dosing patients with ACH-3422 in a Phase I clinical trial. ANALYST REACTION: In a note to investors earlier today Edward Tenthoff, an analyst at research firm PiperJaffray, wrote that today's news positions Achillion as a takeover target. Additionally, the company could develop a nucleotide HCV treatment that is competitive with Gilead's successful Sovaldi, Tenthoff wrote. However, Tenthoff believes that potential buyers of Achillion may wait for more data on its products to be unveiled later this year before looking to bid. The analyst kept a Neutral rating on the stock. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Gilead and AbbVie (ABBV), whose stocks fell yesterday after Merck announced its acquisition, were defended today by RBC Capital and BMO Capital, respectively. RBC Capital expects sales of Gilead's Sovaldi to come in well above consensus estimates for 2015, potentially enabling the company's EPS to reach $8-$10. The market expects the sales of all HCV treatments to drop significantly in 2016, but the firm does not agree with this outlook and kept an Outperform rating on Gilead. Meanwhile, BMO Capital defended AbbVie. BMO still believes that the size and durability of the HCV market and AbbVie's franchise are underappreciated. The firm sees Merck as a significant competitor in HCV, but added that the potential of the assets it acquired from Idenix is "uncertain and somewhat risky." BMO kept an Outperform rating on AbbVie and continued to identify it as a top pick. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, Achillion surged 54% to $6.54. The stock had advanced more than 47% yesterday. Also near noon, Gilead rose 0.7% to $79.54, while Abbvie fell 0.9% to $53.38.
News For ACHN;GILD;ABBV;IDIX;MRK From The Last 14 Days
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January 29, 2016
07:49 EDTABBVBristol-Myers, AbbVie receive 'positive' CHMP opinion for Empliciti
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05:33 EDTMRKStocks with implied volatility movement; VRX MRK
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January 28, 2016
19:02 EDTMRKMerck receives FDA approval of Zepatier
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18:37 EDTMRKFDA approves Merck's Zepatier for chronic hepatitis C
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14:29 EDTABBVNotable companies reporting before tomorrow's open
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13:05 EDTABBVAbbVie volatility elevated into Q4 and outlook
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07:12 EDTABBVAbbVie intiates enrollment in Phase 3 clinical program for Elagolix
AbbVie (ABBV), in cooperation with Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX), announced the initiation of the first of two planned Phase 3 clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of Elagolix alone or in combination with add-back therapy compared to placebo. These studies are designed to assess the change in menstrual blood loss utilizing the alkaline hematin method, comparing baseline to month six of treatment. Additional secondary efficacy endpoints are being evaluated; including assessing changes in fibroid volume, monthly blood loss and hemoglobin levels. Bone mineral density will also be assessed.
07:08 EDTMRKFDA PDUFA Date for Merck's Grazoprevir/Elbasvir is January 28, 2016
05:54 EDTABBVStocks with implied volatility movement; EMR ABBV
Stocks with implied volatility movement; Emerson (EMR) 38, AbbVie (ABBV) 42 according to iVolatility.
05:37 EDTABBVAbbVie announces venetoclax granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by FDA
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January 27, 2016
12:19 EDTABBV, MRKPiper Jaffray biopharma analyst holds an analyst/industry conference call
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11:07 EDTMRK, GILD, ABBVGilead sinks as Attorney General probes pricing strategy
Shares of drugmaker Gilead (GILD) are underperforming after Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey warned that her office may bring an unfair commercial conduct complaint against it related to the pricing for its Hepatitis C virus treatments Sovaldi and Harvoni. UNFAIR PRICING: Healey, in a letter addressed to Gilead CEO John Martin dated January 22 that has just been made public, said that her office is considering whether Gilead's pricing strategy for Sovaldi and Harvoni may constitute an "unfair trade practice" in violation of Massachusetts law. "Because Gilead's drugs offer a cure for a serious and life-threatening infectious disease, pricing the treatment in a manner that effectively allows HCV to continue spreading through vulnerable populations, as opposed to eradicating the disease altogether, results in massive public harm," Healey stated in her letter to Martin. Healey, who urged Gilead to adjust its pricing strategy, noted that the company has invoked the high cost and risk associated with research and development as a justification for its prices, but she said that Gilead quickly recouped its outlay to acquire Pharmasset by selling "$12.4B worth of HCV medication in the first year alone" after its deal. The AG, who said that Sovaldi costs $1,000 per pill in the U.S. but only $10 per pill in Egypt and about $4 per pill in India, contends that American taxpayers "have been footing the bill for Gilead's record profits." FREQUENT TARGET: The pricing of Gilead's hep C treatments have been the focus of significant criticism and political rhetoric in the past. In December, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden and senior committee member Chuck Grassley released the results of an 18-month investigation into the pricing and marketing of Sovaldi and Harvoni. The company "pursued a marketing strategy and final wholesale price of Sovaldi - $1,000 per pill, or $84,000 for a single course of treatment - that it believed would maximize revenue," and "fostering broad, affordable access was not a key consideration in the process of setting the wholesale prices," the senators wrote. Members of the Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force, who held a press conference last November to announce "meaningful action" to combat the "skyrocketing" costs of pharmaceuticals, specifically took aim at Sovaldi. During her campaigning efforts, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has repeatedly decried the "outrageous" prices of specialty drugs. OTHERS TO WATCH: AbbVie (ABBV), Merck (MRK) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) also market or are at work on therapies for hepatitis C. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, Gilead slid 2% to $90.35.
10:38 EDTGILDGilead trades near session lows
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10:00 EDTMRKOn The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy downgrades include: BG Group (BRGYY) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse... Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citi... Bill Barrett (BBG) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Ladenburg... Brown & Brown (BRO) downgraded to Underweight at Morgan Stanley... Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BTIG... Canadian National (CNI) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James... DreamWorks (DWA) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Topeka... FirstMerit (FMER) downgraded at RBC Capital... Gentex (GNTX) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Baird... Haverty Furniture (HVT) downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc... Hercules Technology (HTGC) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Compass Point... Horizon Technology (HRZN) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James... Installed Building downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc... Jarden (JAH) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citi... K+S (KPLUF) downgraded to Sell from Hold at Berenberg... La-Z-Boy (LZB) downgraded at BB&T... Legacy Reserves (LGCY) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital... Medivation (MDVN) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord... Merck (MRK) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill... Metaldyne Performance (MPG) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Baird... Pier 1 Imports (PIR) downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc... Priceline (PCLN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman... Profire Energy (PFIE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Chardan... Regeneron (REGN) downgraded to Hold at Canaccord... Starwood (HOT) downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at CLSA... Swiss Re (SSREY) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley... TSYS (TSS) downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight at First Analysis... Talmer Bancorp (TLMR) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital... TopBuild (BLD) downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc... TripAdvisor (TRIP) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman... VMware (VMW) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Summit Research... W.R. Grace (GRA) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman... WEC Energy (WEC) downgraded to Neutral from Conviction Buy at Goldman... Welltower (HCN) downgraded to Underperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital... Yamana Gold (AUY) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.
09:32 EDTMRKActive equity options trading on open
Active equity options trading on open: AAPL FB AMZN AAL BAC PCLN NFLX MRK GOOG
08:52 EDTGILDMassachusetts AG warns Gilead hep C drug prices may be unfair, Boston Globe says
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08:36 EDTMRKMerck downgraded to Neutral on lack of catalysts at BofA/Merrill
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08:31 EDTMRKMerck says FDA accepts for review BLA for investigational antitoxin
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08:29 EDTMRKMerck downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill
January 26, 2016
15:53 EDTGILDGilead mentioned positively ahead of earnings at Barclays
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