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Japan's Takeda eyes bid for Shire; Roche's Hemlibra linked to 5 deaths

Top news

* Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. said it is considering making a takeover bid for Shire PLC. Shares in the London-listed, Ireland-headquartered company had risen about 17% as of 12:30 p.m. London time.

* Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG informed two patient groups about the deaths of five patients using its hemophilia A drug Hemlibra. Roche unit Genentech said the patients had received Hemlibra, also known as emicizumab or ACE910, as part of compassionate use and expanded patient access.

* Food giants Nestlé SA, Kraft Heinz Co. and Unilever NV are interested in acquiring GlaxoSmithKline PLC's health nutrition unit, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The sale of the Horlicks business might garner more than $4 billion.

On the policy front

* Reuters reported that British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a multiyear plan to fund the National Health Service to allay concerns about possible cuts as part of a broad review of public spending in 2019.

M&A and capital markets

* China's Securities Regulatory Commission gave permission to Shanghai-based WuXi AppTec, Inc. to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the South China Morning Post reported. The contract research organization is looking to raise about 5.7 billion Chinese yuan by issuing 104.2 million shares.

* Meanwhile, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. CEO Charles Xiaojia is aiming for his stock exchange to host a higher number of mainland Chinese biotechs than New York's Nasdaq market in the next five years, SCMP also reported.

* Genetic medicines company Homology Medicines, Inc. priced its Nasdaq IPO of 9 million common shares at $16 per share.

Drug and product pipeline

* Mylan NV and India's Biocon Ltd received approval from the European Commission and the Australian regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to market Semglee — a biosimilar of Sanofi's diabetes medicine Lantus.

Operational activity

* GlaxoSmithKline PLC CEO Emma Walmsley reaffirmed her commitment to improving pharmaceutical research and development, even as the pharmaceutical group bought out the remaining stake in its Novartis AG consumer healthcare joint venture for $13 billion.

* Roche said a Japanese court ruled in favor of its unit Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in a patent infringement case related to hemophilia A drug Hemlibra. The court dismissed Shire PLC's claims that the drug infringed patents on its own drugs.

* Gilead Sciences Inc. paid President and CEO John Milligan about $15.4 million in total remuneration during 2017, up from about $13.9 million in 2016.

* Edge Therapeutics Inc. said it will terminate its phase 3 study testing EG-1962 for treating aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke that occurs from bleeding inside the brain, due to a low probability of success. The Berkeley Heights, N.J.-based company also plans to cut jobs to preserve cash.

Our features

* Takeda pursues alliances, R&D revamp in bid to go global: Japan's largest pharmaceutical company began 2018 with a flurry of dealmaking that reflects a mission to reverse years of stagnant growth by becoming a global force through R&D transformation.

* Hospitals see signs referral law may be changed to enable doctor incentives: The Trump administration is considering loosening restrictions on physician referrals to hospitals, a move that would enable hospitals to reward doctors for providing more efficient care.

* TxCell targets inflammation with twist on T cell therapy: TxCell is in the crosshairs of two very hot sectors with a gene-engineering therapy that suppresses the immune system rather than boosting it.

Other features

* A newly discovered organ called interstitium, which is comprised of fluids that cushion other organs, could be a potential highway for cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body and thus may help in detecting as well as stopping cancer before it becomes deadly, CNBC wrote, citing medical journal Scientific Reports.

* Fueled by higher M&A expectations, share growth in small cap healthcare companies has outpaced the large caps so far this year, Reuters reported. Healthcare stocks on the small-cap S&P 600 have risen by about 14% in 2018, compared to a 1.5% fall for the healthcare sector within the S&P 500.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 2.34% to 30,070.29, and the Nikkei 225 was down 1.34% to 21,031.31.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.17% to 6,987.95, and the Euronext 100 had fallen 0.68% to 995.15.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET.

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