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Pfizer, Lilly post Q4'16 profits; pharma heavyweights face diabetes suit


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Pfizer, Lilly post Q4'16 profits; pharma heavyweights face diabetes suit

* Eli Lilly & Co.'s fourth-quarter 2016 net income was up to $771.8 million, or 73 cents per share, from $478.4 million, or 45, cents per share, in the closing months of 2015. Full-year 2016 net income also rose 14% year over year to $2.74 billion, or $2.58 per share.

* Pfizer Inc. reported a net income of $775 million, or 13 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to a net loss of $172 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier. The pharma giant expects full-year 2017 EPS in the range of $2.50 to $2.60, after booking an EPS of $2.40 in full-year 2016.

* Diabetes patients filed a class-action lawsuit against Sanofi, Novo Nordisk A/S and Eli Lilly for alleged price fixing of insulin treatments. The lawsuit claims that the three major drug companies raised their benchmark prices more than 150%, leading some patients to pay $900 per month for their treatments.

* Merck & Co. Inc. is among the companies denouncing President Trump's executive order to temporarily restrict immigration from seven predominantly Muslim foreign nations. Allergan PLC CEO Brent Saunders also expressed opposition to any policy that limits the company's ability to attract the best talent.

* The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, will meet Donald Trump today following the President's comments that drugmakers were "getting away with murder," Reuters writes. The trade group is headed by Novartis AG CEO Joe Jimenez.

* The Federal Trade Commission is seeking information from Mylan NV as part of a preliminary investigation over price hikes in the company's EpiPen product in 2016. Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a patent dispute involving two Mylan subsidiaries.

* Elsewhere, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware invalidated all claims of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which was seeking to prevent generics of its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone from entering the market. Mylan is one of the companies seeking approval for a generic of Copaxone.

M&A and capital markets

* French pharmaceutical company Ipsen agreed to acquire an equity stake in Italy-based Akkadeas Pharma, with an option to take control of the company in the future. As part of the deal, Akkadeas will become Ipsen's Italian distributor for Smecta, which is used to treat acute diarrhea in children and adults.

* The Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a final order approving the proposed acquisition of Mettrum Health Corp. by Canopy Growth Corp. The deal is expected to close Jan. 31.

Drug and product pipeline

* The U.S. FDA approved two Teva Pharmaceutical asthma inhalers. AirDuo RespiClick and ArmonAir RespiClick will be available for adolescent and adult patients via prescription later this year.

* The FDA also approved the new drug application of Par Pharmaceutical, Endo International PLC's operating company, for ephedrine sulfate injection. The drug is a parenterally administered pressor agent to address hypotension, or low blood pressure, in surgical settings.

* FibroGen Inc.'s Roxadustat met the primary endpoints in two phase 3 anemia studies in China. The drug, which is being co-developed with AstraZeneca PLC, was being evaluated in dialysis-dependent and non-dialysis-dependent patients with chronic kidney disease.

Operational activity

* Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. secured the Japanese rights to Exelixis Inc.'s lead cancer drug Cabozantinib. The pharma giant made a $50 million upfront payment to commercialize the drug for all potential future indications in Japan, including advanced renal cell carcinoma.

* Meanwhile, Takeda and Shionogi & Co. Ltd. are collaborating with three other Japanese drugmakers — Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd., Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp. — to develop potential treatments for dementia and similar neurological disorders, The Nikkei wrote. There is no available treatment for dementia.

* Incyte Corp. secured the rights to Calithera BioSciences Inc.'s CB-1158 cancer drug for an upfront payment of $45 million. Incyte is also investing $8 million in Calithera by purchasing the company's shares at $4.65 apiece.

* Agenus Inc. promoted Jean-Marie Cuillerot to the position of chief medical officer, after he joined the company as vice president and global head of clinical development in 2016. Cuillerot has been affiliated with Merck Serono and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in the past.

* Jaguar Animal Health Inc. licensed its Canalevia treatment to Eli Lilly unit Elanco US Inc. in a deal valued at more than $60 million. Canalevia is being investigated as a treatment of acute and chemotherapy-induced diarrhea in dogs.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.69% to 19,041.34.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 gained 0.53% to 7,156.03 and the Euronext 100 climbed 0.27% to 926.14.

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