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Obama signs $6.3B Cures bill; Sanofi now in talks to acquire Actelion

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Obama signs $6.3B Cures bill; Sanofi now in talks to acquire Actelion

* President Barack Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act to provide $6.3 billion to the U.S. biomedical enterprise over the next decade. Most of those funds, $4.8 billion, will go to three areas of research championed by Obama: the brain, precision medicine and cancer. The bill also calls for $1 billion to go toward addressing the opioids epidemic and other mental health issues.

* Sanofi is reportedly in talks to acquire Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in a deal valued at up to $30 billion. The news follows Johnson & Johnson's decision to abandon a potential takeover of Actelion, which was asking for more than what the U.S. pharma giant was willing to pay.

* Genome mapper Francis Collins, who has led the U.S. National Institutes of Health for nearly all of President Barack Obama's tenure, told S&P Global Market Intelligence that he would urge Trump to advocate for strong and continued funding for the NIH and the other U.S. government science agencies, arguing "research is the best way to stimulate the economy."

* A report by consultancy firm Deloitte indicated that U.S. drug approvals fell to 19 in 2016 from 45 and 41 in 2015 and 2014, respectively, making it the lowest annual number of new drug approvals since 2010, Reuters reported.

M&A and capital markets

* Monsanto SA shareholders overwhelmingly approved Bayer AG's bid to acquire the company for $128 per share in cash.

* Private equity firm TPG Capital is in talks with cash-strapped brothers Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh to acquire at least 26% of their stake in India's Fortis Healthcare Ltd., insiders tell The Economic Times.

* Boston Scientific Corp. acquired certain manufacturing assets and capabilities of Neovasc Inc.'s advanced biological tissue business. The company also made a 15% equity investment in Neovasc, acquiring 11,817,000 of Neovasc's common shares at 60 cents per share for $7.1 million. Total consideration for both transactions was $75 million.

Drug and product pipeline

* Sage Therapeutics Inc. initiated a phase 2 study to determine whether its SAGE-217 treatment can be used in mood and movement disorders.

* Proteon Therapeutics Inc.'s vonapanitase treatment for chronic kidney disease failed to meet its primary endpoint in the PATENCY-1 phase 3 trial. However, results indicated the drug's efficacy in fistula use for hemodialysis, which will be investigated in the ongoing PATENCY-2 trial.

* Eli Lilly & Co. said it will offer up to a 40% discount to patients who purchase its insulin via mobile and web platforms hosted by Blink Health starting Jan. 1, 2017.

* The U.S. FDA approved Lupin Ltd.'s desoximetasone ointment USP 0.05%, a generic of Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s Topicort 0.05% for the treatment of inflammatory skin disease.

Operational activity

* Tech heavyweights Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. are teaming up with Japan's National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology to develop a fifth-generation quantum beam cancer treatment facility.

* MacroGenics Inc. and Synthon Biopharmaceuticals BV entered a license and collaboration agreement for the development of MGC018, an antibody-drug conjugate directed against solid tumors.

* Nuevolution AB (publ) is partnering with Almirall SA to develop and commercialize its ROR?t program for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases and disorders as well as psoriatic arthritis.

* Intellia Therapeutics Inc. named Graeme Bell CFO, succeeding Sapna Srivastava, who will be moving to a senior advisory role within the company.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.04% to 22,456.62. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.02% to 19,253.61.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.13% to 6,959.43, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.55% to 916.61.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.