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Valeant could sell $2B eye biz; big pharma's race for Ebola cure

* U.S. President Donald Trump retained Francis Collins, who has led the National Institutes of Health since 2009, as chief of the agency, the White House said yesterday. Meanwhile, Michelle Lee, head of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, resigned from her post.

* Republican senators have not yet been able to agree on what the role of Medicaid should be in a revamped healthcare system, creating a deeper divide that could risk their plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, The Wall Street Journal wrote. Some GOP members are now preparing to move to tax reform, another legislative priority of the Trump administration.

* Various drugmakers are racing to develop vaccines and treatments ahead of the next potential Ebola outbreak. Merck & Co. Inc. is leading the vaccine pipeline, with its V920 vaccine expected for licensure filing by the end of the year, while Johnson & Johnson and partner Bavarian Nordic A/S, as well as GlaxoSmithKline PLC, are also developing their own vaccines to combat the Zaire strain of the virus.

M&A and capital markets

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. is said to be in discussions to sell Bausch & Lomb's eye surgery products business to Germany's Carl Zeiss Meditec AG. The Valeant unit's assets could be valued at about $2 billion in a potential deal.

* AstraZeneca PLC agreed to sell the global rights to migraine drug Zomig outside Japan to Germany-based pharmaceutical company Grünenthal GmbH. AstraZeneca will receive $200 million upon deal completion and up to an additional $102 million in future milestone payments.

* South Korea-based Celltrion Healthcare Co., Ltd., a unit of Celltrion Inc., intends to sell 24,604,000 new shares at an indicative price range of between 32,500 South Korean won and 41,000 won per share in an IPO in July, Reuters reported. The company expects to raise at least 799.6 billion won when it floats on the junior Kosdaq market.

* Heska Corp. acquired the remaining 45.4% of Heska Imaging US LLC it did not yet own and now fully owns the unit. The company paid the full amount of about $13.8 million to minority holders of Heska Imaging on May 31.

Drug and product pipeline

* Jazz Pharmaceuticals Public Ltd. Co. reported positive data from two global phase 3 multicenter studies of JZP-110 to treat adult patients with excessive sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Cadila Healthcare Ltd. approval to market mesalamine delayed release tablets USP, 1.2 grams. The drug is the first approved generic version of Shire PLC's Lialda, used to treat mild to moderate ulcerative colitis, a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Operational activity

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday heard an appeal from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to reverse a lower court ruling that would uphold Amgen Inc.'s claims that the duo's cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent infringes Amgen's patents to its version of the treatment, Repatha, Reuters reported. Sanofi and Regeneron asked the appeals court to invalidate Amgen's patents as they improperly claim an entire cluster of antibodies, known as PCSK9 inhibitors, which lower cholesterol levels.

* Midatech Pharma PLC secured the rights to a cancer compound from Novartis AG. Midatech Pharma will develop panobinostat, a pan-HDAC inhibitor intended to treat certain brain tumors.

* Galena Biopharma Inc. received a termination notice from BioVascular Inc. regarding an exclusive license agreement for blood cancer drug GALE-401, a controlled release version of anagrelide, which is used to reduce platelet counts in patients suffering from blood cancer.

* Dishman Carbogen Amcis Ltd.'s board issued and allotted 161,394,272 equity shares of 2 Indian rupees each as fully paid-up equity shares to the shareholders of Dishman Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals Ltd., as part of the amalgamation of Dishman Pharmaceuticals, Carbogen Amcis (lndia) Ltd. and Dishman Care Ltd.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng fell 0.09% to 25,974.16, and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.02% to 19,984.62.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.20% to 7,540.21, and the Euronext 100 had climbed 0.80% to 1,026.84.

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