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Teva, others propose $50B opioid settlement; FDA sets generic approvals record

Top news

* Drugmakers and distributors are offering $22 billion in cash and $28 billion in medications and services to settle charges alleging that they helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic, Reuters reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter. These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a total of 1,171 generic drugs during the fiscal year 2019 breaking its all-time record of 971 generic drug approvals for the fiscal year 2018. The approvals included 125 first generics of medicines and 236 tentative approvals.

* Bayer AG expects to see a rise in the number of U.S. cases related to its weedkiller Roundup in the third quarter, Reuters reported. Roundup, which the German company inherited following the $62.5 billion acquisition of Monsanto Co., has been mired in controversy. Bayer is facing thousands of lawsuits that accuse Roundup of causing cancer.

* Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, died early Oct. 17 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from complications related to longstanding health issues, his office said. He was 68.

* A clinical trial evaluating a new artificial pancreas system — which automatically monitors and regulates blood glucose levels — found that the system was more effective in treating type 1 diabetes than existing therapies.

M&A and capital markets

* Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s $930 million bid for Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is "high risk, high reward," according to analysts, but the maker of Soliris is well-positioned for exactly this type of deal. The transaction, however, could face regulatory scrutiny, according to analysts from Stifel.

* AbbVie Inc. may have to shell out an unexpected €572 million for its Allergan PLC buy due to new changes in Ireland's stamp duty bill, The Irish Times reported. The $84.2 billion deal, which was approved by Allergan shareholders, is among the deals that are likely to be affected by the measures undertaken in Budget 2020.

* Philadelphia-based biotechnology company Cabaletta Bio Inc. is planning to raise about $77.5 million in net proceeds in its Nasdaq IPO.

* Beijing-based cancer therapy developer InnoCare Pharma Ltd. has filed for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

* Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd. failed to reach an agreement on terms of a proposed A$203.8 million acquisition of stem cell technology company Cynata Therapeutics Ltd. The parties have withdrawn from the acquisition discussions after failing to arrive at a deal.

Drug and product pipeline

* AstraZeneca PLC and Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. said the U.S. FDA granted priority review to their breast cancer drug trastuzumab deruxtecan. The FDA is expected to make a decision by the second quarter of 2020.

* ViiV Healthcare Ltd., which is majority-owned by GlaxoSmithKline PLC, is seeking U.S. approval to expand the use of its two-drug HIV treatment Dovato to patients who are already on a three-drug regimen. If approved, Dovato will be available as a "switch treatment" for adults with HIV-1 who are already seeing benefits from an existing treatment regimen.

* Incyte Corp. and Novartis AG's Jakafi met the main goal of a phase 3 trial after the drug improved the response rate in patients with a type of stem cell transplant complication called acute graft versus host disease.

Operational activity

* Roche Holding AG, the biggest maker of oncology medicines in the world, raised its 2019 outlook after reporting higher-than-expected third-quarter results — boosted by a 50% jump in China sales and a strong performance from new medicines for multiple sclerosis and hemophilia. The Swiss drugmaker has introduced a raft of new medicines to compensate for the loss of patent exclusivity on a number of its blockbuster cancer drugs, including Avastin, Herceptin and Rituxan.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng jumped 0.69% to 26,848.49, while the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.09% to 22,451.86.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 increased 0.58% to 7,209.21, and the Euronext 100 decreased 0.60% to 1,098.22.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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