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Bipartisan group seeks ACA fix; Pfizer ups FY'17 outlook

* Pfizer Inc. raised the midpoint of its full-year guidance range by 2 cents and now expects adjusted EPS of between $2.54 to $2.60 for full year 2017, after the drugmaker's second-quarter adjusted net attributable income increased year over year to $4.06 billion, or 67 cents per share, from $3.93 billion, or 64 cents per share.

* A bipartisan group comprising 43 House members — the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus, co-chaired by Republican Rep. Tom Reed of New York and Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey — unveiled a five-point plan aimed at tweaking and shoring up, rather than dismantling, the Affordable Care Act. The group had been quietly meeting behind closed doors to work up a strategy to stabilize the healthcare insurance market.

Meanwhile, various members of the Senate have also been working on bipartisan proposals, including a guild of 10 Democratic and Republican senators who are former state governors, like Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

* U.S. President Donald Trump is considering setting up health associations that would allow organizations to offer group health insurance plans, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters, Reuters noted. Trump is said to be looking at using his executive powers to address the healthcare system's problems, following the Senate's failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA.

* Five Ohio health insurers agreed to sell plans on the state's federal exchange in 19 of the 20 counties where other insurers have withdrawn earlier this year. Insurers, however, are still in the process of finalizing rate filings with the state's Department of Insurance, including the types of plans that will be sold in those counties.

* A White House commission, led by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, called on Trump to declare a national emergency on opioid overdose as 142 Americans die every day from drug overdoses. Such a declaration would empower Trump's cabinet to take bold steps and force Congress to focus on funding and further enabling the executive branch to deal with the opioid crisis, the commission said in an interim report.

* Almost all of the EU member countries submitted bids to set up the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority after the U.K., which hosts the agencies, leaves the bloc. Among the 19 cities proposing to host the EMA are the German city of Bonn and the French city of Lille, as well as Brussels, Copenhagen and Dublin.

M&A and capital markets

* India will reportedly block Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co. Ltd.'s proposed $1.3 billion deal to buy Gland Pharma Ltd., which supplies a variety of injectables. Shanghai Fosun's plan to purchase an 86% stake in the Indian drugmaker has reportedly run into opposition from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

* Invitae Corp. agreed to acquire Good Start Genetics Inc. and CombiMatrix Corp. to expand its family health genetic information services. Invitae will acquire Good Start through the issuance of up to about 1.65 million common shares and a payment of about $18.3 million in cash, plus $6 million in additional payments.

* Jaguar Animal Health Inc. completed its merger with Napo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and changed its name to Jaguar Health Inc. Jaguar will continue trading under the Nasdaq ticker symbol JAGX.

* INC Research Holdings Inc. shareholders approved the company's proposed all-stock merger with inVentiv Health Inc. The merger is expected to create a combined company with an enterprise value of about $7.4 billion.

Drug and product pipeline

* Allergan plc and Amgen Inc. filed an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for ABP 980 — a biosimilar version of Roche Holding AG unit Genentech Inc.'s Herceptin, which is approved to treat breast and gastric cancers.

* The FDA is weighing whether to permit Johnson & Johnson to market its experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug sirukumab after studies showed the monoclonal antibody had higher rates of death and cancers versus the placebo.

Operational activity

* Incyte Corp. reported a second-quarter net loss of $12.5 million, or 6 cents per share, compared to a net income of $34.4 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier. The company's second-quarter results included an unrealized loss on long-term investments of $19.6 million, with research and development expenses rising on a yearly basis to $201.8 million from $120.3 million.

* Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Clovis Oncology are partnering to evaluate the combination of Bristol-Myers' immunotherapy Opdivo and Clovis Oncology's PARP inhibitor Rubraca in pivotal phase 3 clinical trials in advanced ovarian cancer and advanced triple-negative breast cancers. The collaboration will also include a phase 2 trial assessing the combo in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng climbed 0.79% to 27,540.23, while the Nikkei 225 rose 0.30% to 19,985.79.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.59% to 7,415.74 and the Euronext 100 rose 0.31% to 998.86.

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