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Trump mulls infrastructure-healthcare bill; Bidders lowball Valeant's iNova unit

* U.S. President Donald Trump is looking to gain Democrat support for any possible Republican-backed healthcare reform. In an interview with The New York Times, Trump said he was considering "accelerating" a $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure plan that could likely win support for healthcare or tax reform, Reuters reported. House Republicans continue to discuss plans on how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act but have still not reached an agreement.

* Mallinckrodt Public Ltd. Co. dropped its membership in the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry trade group, amid a lingering drug pricing scandal, Endpoints News wrote. A spokesman for the biopharma company said "the significant financial and time commitment required as a full PhRMA member outweighs its direct policy value to us at this time."

* Scott Gottlieb, President Trump's pick to lead the U.S. FDA, told lawmakers that his "unique" experience working as a venture capitalist, industry consultant and medical product company board member made him the perfect candidate to take the agency's helm. But he also said those industry ties and his outspokenness on political matters would not prevent him from upholding the FDA's "gold standard" of ensuring drugs, vaccines and medical devices are safe and effective before the agency allows them to enter the U.S. market.

* The sale of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.'s Australian subsidiary iNova is said to be below investors' expectations, attracting bids of about $900 million each from Germany's Stada-Arzneimittel AG, U.K.-based Mundipharma International Ltd. and a private equity consortium comprising The Carlyle Group and Pacific Equity Partners, FiercePharma reported, citing The Australian Business Review. Valeant is reportedly mulling whether to retain ownership of iNova.

M&A and capital markets

* FibroGen Inc. priced its underwritten follow-on offering of 5,228,750 common shares at $22.95 apiece. The offering, which is expected to close April 11, is expected to raise gross proceeds of about $120 million.

* Actelion Ltd. shareholders approved the demerger of the company's drug discovery and early clinical pipeline business into a new company, Idorsia. The move is part of Johnson & Johnson's acquisition of Actelion, which is expected to close this quarter.

* BerGenBio ASA completed its IPO of 16 million new shares priced at 25 Norwegian kroner apiece on the Oslo Stock Exchange, raising gross proceeds of 400 million kroner. BerGenBio will have a market capitalization of 1.24 billion kroner following the offering.

* Northeast Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. will raise up to 1.4 billion Chinese yuan in a private placement to finance the move and upgrade of its vitamin C production line, according to the China Securities Journal. The company will issue up to 94.9 million new shares in the deal.

Drug and product pipeline

* The U.S. FDA granted final approval to Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd.'s abbreviated new drug application for celecoxib capsules, the generic version of G.D. Searle LLC's Celebrex that treats osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

* Allergan PLC reported topline data from a phase 2 study evaluating two different doses of Botox relative to placebo in adult females with major depressive disorder. The 30 units dose of the drug demonstrated numerically superior efficacy in total score on the Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale compared to placebo, while the 50 units dose did not demonstrate superior efficacy over placebo.

* Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Finch Therapeutics entered an agreement to jointly develop FIN-524, a live biotherapeutic product in preclinical research. The product is composed of cultured bacterial strains that have been linked to favorable clinical outcomes in studies of microbiota transplantations in inflammatory bowel disease, an ongoing inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract.

Operational activity

* Jazz Pharmaceuticals Public Ltd. Co. reached a settlement agreement with one of the companies looking to market a generic version of its central nervous system depressant, Xyrem. Jazz Pharmaceuticals was seeking to prevent Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC from selling a generic version of the drug but has now agreed to allow sales for an initial six-month period starting Jan. 1, 2023. Hikma has an option to extend the term to up to five years.

* An Australian federal court ordered Lupin Ltd.'s units to pay A$25.4 million in damages, plus A$5.9 million in pre-judgment interest, to Bayer AG as part of a patent infringement lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that Lupin had infringed Bayer's Australian patent by selling tablets containing drospirenone 3 milligram and ethinyl estradiol 30 microgram under the brand name Isabelle.

* Acorda Therapeutics Inc. implemented a corporate restructuring to reduce cost structure, focus resources on two late-stage programs —CVT-301 and tozadenant — as well as maximize patient access to its multiple sclerosis drug AMPYRA.

* A class-action lawsuit is alleging that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and drug distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp. overcharged customers for Velcade. Japan-based Takeda's Velcade, distributed by AmerisourceBergen in the U.S., is used to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, and mantle cell lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.52% to 24,273.72, and the Nikkei 225 was down 1.40% to 18,597.06.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.32% to 7,308.14, and the Euronext 100 fell 0.07% to 981.40.

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