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Broad Institute wins CRISPR fight; Merck & Co.'s antibiotic clears phase 3 trial


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Broad Institute wins CRISPR fight; Merck & Co.'s antibiotic clears phase 3 trial

Top news

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of the Broad Institute in its battle to hang on to its patents covering its CRISPR gene-editing technology, declaring that it was not persuaded by the arguments put forth by the University of California and its partners in their challenge. The win could potentially mean millions, if not billions, of dollars for Broad and its licensing partners.

* Merck & Co. Inc.'s antibiotic Zerbaxa worked as well as meropenem, or Pfizer Inc.'s Merrem, in treating two life-threatening hospital related lung infections in a phase 3 study. The infections being tested include ventilated hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia or ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia.

* Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG's eye care business, Alcon Inc. — which is in the midst of a spinoff — chose Geneva as the location of its future global headquarters. Alcon develops and sells surgical products for eye surgeries, contact lenses and lens care products, and pharmaceutical products for eye diseases.

* Nostrum Pharmaceuticals LLC's CEO Nirmal Mulye defended the company's move to quadruple the price of its antibiotic medicine, noting in an interview with the Financial Times that there was a moral requirement to sell a drug at the highest price to make money. Nostrum Pharmaceuticals is the parent company of Nostrum Laboratories Inc., which manufactures the antibiotic nitrofurantoin.

M&A and capital markets

* Canada's Aurora Cannabis Inc. said it was acquiring ICC Labs Inc. in a C$290 million deal that would increase its presence in the South American cannabis market. ICC Labs, also based in Canada, is a licensed producer of cannabis in both Colombia and Uruguay.

* Dublin-based Shire PLC said it increased the maximum tender amount of certain outstanding senior notes of its unit Baxalta to $2.33 billion from $2.25 billion.

Drug and product pipeline

* West Lafayette, Ind.-based Endocyte Inc. said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted a new endpoint goal for an ongoing phase 3 study of the company's prostate cancer drug, which should speed up the regulatory approval process.

Operational activity

* AstraZeneca PLC's Swedish unit granted Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co. Ltd. exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize its experimental neurological disorder therapy AZD3241. Biohaven will pay $7 million up front in cash and equity to AstraZeneca. The U.S.-based company will also pay up to $55 million based on regulatory and commercial milestones and up to $50 million on sales-based milestones.

* Acorda Therapeutics Inc. said a U.S. appeals court upheld a District Court's decision to invalidate four U.S. patents related to its multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra. The Ardsley, N.Y.-based company's stock was down 24.50% to $20.80 as of market close Sept. 10.

* U.K.'s Vectura Group PLC warned that a hard Brexit will lead to higher costs and supply chain disruptions, adding that it was examining its drug stockpile to prepare for the potential crises, Reuters reported.

Other features

* Germany's Merck KGaA is planning full deployment of artificial intelligence to help manage its entire supply chain by the end of 2019, a company executive told the Wall Street Journal. Merck plans to use Mountain View, Calif-based Aera Technology Inc.'s analytic technology to predict potential demand for its drugs.

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* A majority of healthcare professionals in the U.S. are inadequately trained to treat addiction, making them ill-equipped to deal with the country's opioid epidemic, The New York Times reported, citing a study by National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

* Following a record-breaking IPO season for biotechs, several investors are cautioning against investing in companies that have yet to launch a drug on the market, the Wall Street Journal wrote.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, Hang Seng dropped 0.72% to 26,422.55, while the Nikkei 225 rose 1.30% to 22,664.69.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.63% to 7,233.61, and the Euronext 100 shed 0.27% to 1,030.63.

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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