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News Breaks
January 27, 2014
04:55 EDTILMN, ILMN, AET, AET, AMGN, AMGN, NVS, NVS, ECYT, ECYT, CELG, CELG, LIFE, LIFE, OMED, OMED, MRK, MRK, CERN, CERN, TROV, TROV, UNH, UNHPersonalized Medicine World Conference to hold a conference
PMWC 2014 Silicon Valley is being held in Mountain View, California on January 26-28.
News For ILMN;TROV;CERN;MRK;OMED;LIFE;CELG;ECYT;NVS;AMGN;AET;UNH From The Last 14 Days
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February 23, 2015
19:40 EDTAET, UNHLeerink healthcare services analyst holds an analyst/industry conference call
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16:27 EDTUNHOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street began the session in negative territory and remained there for most of the session, with the Nasdaq the lone index to post a small gain. The Dow was weighed down by shares of Boeing (BA), which slid after the stock received a downgrade. There was little in the way of positive economic news, as the most notable report showed existing homes were lower than expected due to a shortage of inventory. The averages drifted for most of the session, as investors may be waiting on the sidelines ahead of tomorrow’s banking panel testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago Fed national activity index rebounded to 0.13 in January, which was nearly in-line with expectations. Existing home sales dropped 4.9% to a 4.82M rate in January, which was much worse than the expected 1.8% drop to a 4.95M unit rate. In Europe, the Ifo Institute’s measure of German business confidence rose to 106.8 in February, which was up a tenth of a percentage point from the previous month but below the 107.7 consensus forecast. Also, the Bank of Israel became the latest central bank to cut rates this year, lowering its main interest rate to 0.1% from 0.25%. COMPANY NEWS: The shares of a number of health insurers rose after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, issued preliminary 2016 Medicare Advantage rates. According to Credit Suisse, the rates were favorable for the insurers. Following the CMS announcement made late Friday, Humana (HUM) climbed $8.40, or 5.38%, to $164.52, UnitedHealth (UNH) rose $3.78, or 3.36%, to $116.40, and WellCare (WCG) gained $4.68, or 5.53%, to $89.30. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was PTC Therapeutics (PTCT), which jumped $9.77, or 17.7%, to $64.96 after Reuters said the company is working with financial advisers to explore a potential sale after receiving takeover interest from several companies including Shire (SHPG) and BioMarin (BMRN). Also higher was Valeant (VRX), which rose $25.49, or 14.71%, to $198.75 after the company agreed to buy Salix (SLXP) for $158 per share and also reported better-than-forecast earnings. Salix shares, however, fell $2.09, or 1.32%, to $155.76, as a report Friday from CNBC's David Faber telegraphed the deal and suggested Valeant could value Salix around $160 per share. Among the noteworthy losers was Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI), which dropped $1.18, or 15.82%, to $6.28 after a judge ruled that a drug which could compete with the company's Fusilev treatment does not infringe on the company's intellectual property. Also lower were shares of Boeing, which fell $3.57, or 2.26%, to $154.74 after the stock was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. INDEXES: The Dow fell 23.60, or 0.13%, to 18,116.84, the Nasdaq gained 5.01, or 0.1%, to 4,960.97, and the S&P 500 slipped 0.64, or 0.03%, to 2,109.66.
15:00 EDTNVSFDA approves Farydak for treatment of multiple myeloma
The FDA approved Farydak for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer that arises from plasma cells, a type of white blood cell, found in bone marrow. Farydak is the first HDAC inhibitor approved to treat multiple myeloma. It is intended for patients who have received at least two prior standard therapies, including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory agent. Farydak is to be used in combination with bortezomib, a type of chemotherapy, and dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory medication. Farydak is marketed by Novartis.
13:40 EDTNVSAnalysts clash on Spectrum outlook after patent suit setback
Two research firms had divergent views on Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI) after a judge ruled that a drug which could compete with the company's Fusilev treatment does not infringe on the company's intellectual property. BACKGROUND: Late Friday, a federal judge ruled that Novartis' (NVS) levoleucovorin, a generic version of Spectrum's Fusilev, does not infringe on Spectrum's intellectual property. Fusilev is indicated after high-dose methotrexate therapy in osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in the bones. It is also used to treat patients with advanced metastatic colorectal cancer. BEARISH TAKE: Roth Capital analyst Joseph Pantginis downgraded Spectrum to Neutral from Buy following the ruling, as he believes the risk to the company's revenue has risen. The company is meaningfully less likely to become profitable again, wrote Pantginis, noting that Fusilev accounted for about 50% of the company's product revenue. According to the analyst, Spectrum is becoming increasingly focused on developing its earlier stage drugs, and he expects those drugs to grow slowly. Pantginis slashed his price target on the shares to $7 from $15. BULLISH TAKE: In a note to investors earlier today, Reni Benjamin, an analyst at research firm H.C. Wainwright, wrote that the stock's plunge after the judge's ruling "creates a table-pounding buying opportunity," noting that Fusilev has been granted exclusivity as a colorectal treatment until 2018. Benjamin does not expect the company's revenue from Fusilev to decline at all until 2018, as a citizen's petition submitted by Spectrum to the FDA, along with an appeal the company is mounting to Friday's ruling, and the difficulty that Novartis will have launching its version of the drug while the appeal is ongoing, will help prevent Spectrum's revenue from dropping. Also likely to protect Spectrum's revenue are the strong relationships that the company has developed with hospitals and community doctors, the analyst stated. He kept a $15 price target and Buy rating on the shares. PRICE ACTION: In mid-afternoon trading, Spectrum tumbled $1.44, or 19.3% to $6.02.
12:21 EDTAET, NVS, UNHOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
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11:17 EDTNVSFTC puts conditions on Novartis's proposed acquisition of GSK oncology drugs
According to the FTC, Global pharmaceutical company Novartis (NVS) has agreed to divest all assets related to its BRAF and MEK inhibitor drugs, currently in development, to Boulder, Colorado-based Array BioPharma (ARRY) to settle charges that Novartis’s $16B acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) portfolio of cancer-treatment drugs would likely be anticompetitive...If the acquisition goes forward as proposed, Novartis would likely delay or terminate development of both its BRAF and MEK inhibitors, as well as the combination product. For that reason, Novartis’s acquisition of GSK’s portfolio of cancer-treatment drugs would likely cause significant competitive harm in the U.S. markets for both the BRAF and MEK inhibitors, ultimately raising prices for consumers and depriving them of potentially superior products. Under the terms of the proposed consent agreement, Novartis is required to provide transitional services to Array BioPharma to ensure that development of the BRAF and MEK inhibitors continues uninterrupted and that competition in BRAF and MEK inhibitor markets is not reduced. Reference Link
11:10 EDTAET, UNHHealth insurers rise after CMS releases preliminary Medicare Advantage rates
The shares of a number of health insurers are rising after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, issued preliminary 2016 Medicare Advantage rates. According to Credit Suisse, the rates were favorable for health insurers. WHAT'S NEW: On Friday after the market closed, CMS issued a proposal for 2016 Medicare Advantage rates. The rates are preliminary and could change when CMS announces the final 2016 rates on April 6 of this year, the agency noted. In a note to investors earlier today, Credit Suisse analyst Ralph Giacobbe estimated that, under CMS' initial proposal, insurers would see rate changes of between -1% and +1%, depending on the risk that each insurer faces. The preliminary rates were "favorable" for insurers, since the rates were "in-line if not slightly better" than investors had expected, the firm stated. Moreover, CMS decided not to restrict at-home health risk assessments, as had been feared, and agreed to reduce the weighting of certain risk factors that had hurt previously certain plans with a higher proportion of low-income beneficiaries, acceding to a request by insurers. Insurers with the highest exposure to Medicare Advantage include Humana (HUM), UnitedHealth (UNH), and WellCare (WCG), the analyst stated. WHAT'S NOTABLE: After analyzing CMS' proposal, health insurer Aetna (AET) estimated that the proposal would cause government funding for its Medicare Advantage business to decline by about 1% in 2016. Aetna added that it is continuing to evaluate the changes outlined in the Advance Notice and their impact on the company and its Medicare Advantage members. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other publicly traded health insurance companies include Anthem (ANTM), AMERIGROUP (AGP), Centene (CNC), Cigna (CI), Health Net (HNT), Healthspring (HS), and Molina Healthcare (MOH). PRICE ACTION: In mid-morning trading, Humana climbed 5.3% to $164.43, UnitedHealth rose 2.6% to $115.56, WellCare gained 6.3% to $90, Aetna advanced 2% to $99.91, and Centene added 3.4% to $61.93.
09:03 EDTAETAetna sees preliminary CMS rates to lower funding for MA business 1% in 2016
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08:27 EDTMRKNGM Biopharmaceuticals to hold a teleconference
NGM Biopharm discusses the strategic collaboration with Merck to discover, develop and commercialize novel biologic therapeutics on a teleconference to be held on February 23 at 9:30 am. Webcast Link
08:05 EDTUNH, AETCMS releases preliminary Medicare Advantage rates for 2016
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07:14 EDTNVSSpectrum says plans to appeal patent suit loss to Novartis unit
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI) confirmed in a regulatory filing that on February 20, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ordered that judgment be entered in favor of defendant Sandoz in the matter entitled Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. et al v. Sandoz Inc. "Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. intends to appeal this decision and the ultimate outcome of this litigation remains uncertain," the company stated. Sandoz is the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis (NVS).
07:04 EDTMRKMerck, NGM Biopharmaceuticals announce multi-year collaboration
NGM Biopharmaceuticals and Merck announced they have entered into a multi-year collaboration to research, discover, develop and commercialize novel biologic therapies across a wide range of therapeutic areas. This agreement will become effective upon the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. The collaboration includes multiple drug candidates currently in preclinical development at NGM, including NP201, which is being evaluated for the treatment of diabetes, obesity and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. NGM will lead the research and development of the existing preclinical candidates and have the autonomy to identify and pursue other discovery stage programs at its discretion. Merck will have the option to license all resulting NGM programs following human proof of concept trials. If Merck exercises this option, Merck will lead global product development and commercialization for the resulting products, if approved. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will make an upfront payment to NGM of $94M and will purchase a 15 percent equity stake in NGM for $106M at a price per share that represents a 20% premium to NGM’s most recent financing. Merck will commit up to $250M to fund all of NGM’s efforts under the initial five-year term of the collaboration, with the potential for additional funding if certain conditions are met. Prior to Merck initiating a Phase 3 study for a licensed program, NGM may elect to either receive milestone and royalty payments or, in certain cases, to co-fund development and participate in a global cost and revenue share arrangement of up to 50%. The agreement also provides NGM with the option to participate in the co-promotion of any co-funded program in the United States. Merck will have the option to extend the research agreement for two additional two-year terms.
February 20, 2015
16:03 EDTCELGOptions Update; February 20, 2015
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09:38 EDTCELGActive equity options trading on open
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08:41 EDTUNH, AETInsurers should be bought on weakness related to MA rates, says BMO Capital
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07:08 EDTNVS, MRKAmerican Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology to hold annual meeting
2015 Annual Meeting of AAAAI is being held in Houston, Texas on February 20-24.
05:27 EDTCELGCelgene Revlimid approved by EC
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February 19, 2015
09:09 EDTILMNLeerink's life science tools analyst holds an analyst/industry conference call
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08:38 EDTMRKNewLink reports clinical development milestone achieved with Merck for rVSV-EBOV
NewLink Genetics (NLNK) announced that it had received notification from Merck (MRK) that the milestone event specified in the license and collaboration agreement between the two companies relating to the further development of the rVSV-EBOV, Ebola, vaccine candidate had been achieved. Under the terms of the agreement, NewLink Genetics will receive a payment of $20M in connection with the achievement of the milestone. The milestone pertains to the initiation of a key clinical trial for the vaccine.
07:12 EDTNVSWharton Health Care Club to hold a conference
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