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J&J faces penalty in India; Qiagen to continue as stand-alone business

Top news

* India's National Anti-Profiteering Authority has imposed a penalty of about 2.3 billion Indian rupees on Johnson & Johnson for allegedly overcharging customers by billing a tax rate that had been reduced by the government.

* After completing a strategic review, Qiagen NV's board determined that the company's current stand-alone business plan represented the best opportunity to drive future value creation. The review was announced in mid-November after Qiagen received several conditional, non-binding indications of interest for a full acquisition, including from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. according to a report.

* Plaintiffs in a lawsuit related to Allergan PLC's Alzheimer's medicine Namenda are asking the federal judge overseeing the case to approve the $750 million settlement the company agreed to in October, Reuters reported. The settlement resolves claims that Forest Laboratories, which became part of Allergan in 2014 — then known as Actavis PLC — tried to prevent or delay generic versions of Namenda from entering the market.

* On average, countries implemented about 49.3%, or just under half, of the non-communicable disease policies recommended by the World Health Organization in 2017, Reuters reported, citing a study published in The Lancet Global Health. Reuters also reported on a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology that suggests that patients with diabetes are engaging in underground exchange activities for diabetes medications and blood-test supplies because the U.S. healthcare is not able to meet their needs.

M&A and capital markets

* Abeona Therapeutics Inc. raised about $103.5 million via a common stock offering after investors bought additional shares. Funds from the offering, which came in response to a so-called strategic review undertaken by Abeona in September, are intended for the development of the company's product pipeline.

* Ellex Medical Lasers Ltd. said it agreed to sell its unit Ellex Lasers & Ultrasound to Lumibird SA for A$100 million. Lannion, France-based Lumibird will also acquire Ellex's manufacturing facility in Adelaide, Australia.

Drug and product pipeline

* Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it has stopped dosing and enrollment of patients in studies related to its hepatitis B drug inarigivir soproxil after certain patients in the phase 2b Catalyst trials experienced liver failure and liver damage.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected Correvio Pharma Corp.'s irregular heartbeat drug Brinavess citing safety concerns. The FDA's decision comes at the heels of recommendations by one of its advisory committees, which had voted against the drug for similar reasons.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Nikkei 225 was up 0.60% to 23,924.92. The Hang Seng was closed Dec. 26.

Most European markets are also closed as of Dec. 26.

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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