* U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting the Affordable Care Act within hours of being sworn into office on Jan. 20. The executive order allows federal agencies to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay" rules embedded in the healthcare law, and it directs agencies "to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens" of the law.
Evercore ISI political analyst Terry Haines told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the move is a positive one for the healthcare sector.
Speaking on ABC's Sunday political program This Week, senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, meanwhile, said the president may soon use his authority to stop enforcing the individual mandate, which requires Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.
* Canada is pushing for new measures to curb the use of powerful painkillers amid rising deaths due to opioid overdose and addiction, Health Minister Jane Philpott told Reuters. Health Canada will propose to include stickers to warn about these opioid hazards, while an advisory panel will look into the revision of the official label definition for opioid use.
* Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail licensed the National Agency for Military Production to establish the Egyptian National Company for Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company that aims to help address the country's drug shortage amid rising prices due to the weakening Egyptian pound, Reuters reported. The military-controlled drugmaker will provide subsidized medicine as local pharma companies struggle to import active ingredients needed to produce generic drugs.
M&A and capital markets
* Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. acquired privately held medical device company Megadyne Medical Products Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
* Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. Ltd. said its IPO on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange was 2,611.9x oversubscribed in online tranche, Reuters reported.
* Hunan Hansen Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.'s controlling shareholder sold a 4.84% stake in the Chinese drugmaker, bringing its shareholding down to 47.12% following the transaction, Reuters noted.
Drug and product pipeline
* Actelion Ltd.'s Opsumit failed to meet the primary endpoint in a phase 3 trial of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension caused by Eisenmenger's syndrome. Jefferies LLC analyst Peter Welford said in a note that the failed trial should not affect the presumably ongoing talks between Actelion and Johnson & Johnson over a potential takeover by the latter.
* The U.S. FDA granted Lupin Ltd. approval to market Paroxetin extended release tablets USP, the generic equivalent of Apotex Technologies Inc.'s Paxil CR tablets. Paroxetin is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
* According to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, a counterfeit version of Gilead Sciences Inc.'s hepatitis C drug Harvoni made its way into the local supply chain, Pharma Japan reported. Fake Harvoni drugs were discovered at a pharmacy chain in Nara prefecture.
* Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. is accusing former Ranbaxy Laboratories promoters Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh of misleading the tribunal and the Delhi High Court by concealing information about Oscar Traders, a company they had established and then dissolved as early as 2012, The Economics Times (of India) wrote. The high court is hearing Daiichi Sankyo's application of an arbitration award based on a Singapore tribunal decision.
* Kitov Pharmaceuticals Holdings Ltd. said the Tel Aviv District Court issued a temporary interlocutory injunction, prohibiting Kitov and Goldman Hirsh Partners Ltd. to take any further steps to complete Kitov's acquisition of a 56% stake in Israel-based TyrNovo Ltd. from Goldman Hirsh.
* Zhejiang Wolwo Bio-Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. appointed Hu Gengxi general manager and Wang Guoqi CFO, Reuters reported.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng climbed 0.06% to 22,898.52, while the Nikkei 225 slid 1.29% to 18,891.03.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.41% to 7,169.13 and the Euronext 100 by 0.21% to 933.25.
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