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Teva to cut 25% of staff in restructuring; Lilly banks on diabetes, oncology

Top news

* Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced that it will cut 14,000 jobs worldwide, or more than 25% of its total workforce, over the next two years, as part of a restructuring plan to cut costs by $3 billion by the end of 2019. The Israeli drugmaker said it will immediately suspend dividends on ordinary shares and American depositary shares.

An Israeli labor union known as Histadrut will hold a nationwide strike in response to earlier reports about the layoffs, Bloomberg News reported.

* Eli Lilly and Co. is counting on its diabetes and cancer drugs to help it hit its 2018 revenue target of $23 billion to $23.5 billion amid tough market competition and patent expiration, Chairman and CEO David Ricks said during the company's 2018 guidance update call.

* According to a survey by consulting firm Deloitte, the return on research and development spending of the top 12 drugmakers dropped to 3.2% this year from 10.1% in 2010; as the average cost of developing medicines rose to $2 billion this year from $1.2 billion in 2010, the Financial Times wrote. Forecast annual peak sales per drug fell to $465 million in 2017 from $816 million in 2010.

On the policy front

* House Republicans want to postpone for another two years a proposed measure that would require health insurers to pay an annual fee based on market share — the cost of which would be shouldered by consumers as insurers would tend to raise premiums, Bloomberg News reported. Lawmakers are also recommending delaying the 2.3% medical-device tax for another five years to 2022.

* As of Dec. 9, nearly 4.7 million Americans have signed up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act's marketplace for this enrollment season, data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services showed. The deadline of enrollment for 2018 plans on the ACA platform is tomorrow, but it is unclear whether it would exceed the 9.2 million signups recorded last season on HealthCare.gov, CNBC noted.

* The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of shareholders representing more than $400 billion in managed assets, are requesting that AbbVie Inc., Amgen Inc., Biogen Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Eli Lilly report on the extent to which risks related to public concern over drug pricing strategies are reflected in executive compensation programs.

M&A and capital markets

* Novartis AG's generics business Sandoz is looking to sell or discontinue certain noncore products in the U.S., as part of efforts to optimize its portfolio due to high price pressure, Reuters reported.

* Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. completed its acquisition of Unichem Laboratories Ltd.'s branded businesses in India and Nepal for 36 billion Indian rupees.

* Epicore BioNetworks Inc.'s shareholders voted to approve the company's acquisition by agriculture-food sector focused Neovia SAS. The deal is expected to close Dec. 18.

Drug and product pipeline

* Pfizer Inc. said the U.S. FDA extended the expected approval date for Xeljanz's supplemental new drug application in ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, by three months.

The FDA, meanwhile, approved Pfizer's second biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson's rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade. The drug, named Ixifi, was approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, pediatric Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis.

* UCB SA said its phase 2b study met its primary goal of establishing dose response for bimekizumab in treating ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease that mainly affects the spine.

* The FDA accepted Bristol-Myers' application for priority review of the Opdivo plus Yervoy to treat intermediate-and poor-risk patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.

Operational activity

* During its R&D strategy presentation, Sanofi said it expects to file nine regulatory submissions, including two investigational cancer drugs and a diabetes therapy, in the next 18 months and to launch at least 10 phase 3 studies over the next year.

* Bristol-Myers acquired an exclusive license to Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.'s antitumor compound ONO-4578 for $40 million up front. The companies also agreed to collaborate on discovery efforts to identify additional compounds from Ono's receptor antagonist programs.

* Novo Nordisk A/S and reMYND NV entered into a license agreement to further develop reMYND's ReS39 therapeutic diabetes program. Novo Nordisk could pay reMYND up to €350 million in research and milestone payments, plus royalties on resulting net sales.

* The Competition Commission of India launched a probe into Abbott Laboratories, Novartis, Emcure Pharma and USV Pvt. Ltd. over alleged collusion to fix the price of antidiabetic therapy Vildagliptin, insiders told The Economic Times of India.

Our features

Congress again ponders drug pricing, but makes no commitment on actions: The head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told members of the health panel, who heard from 10 witnesses during a three-hour hearing, it was their charge to tackle drug pricing, but he made no commitment for putting legislation on the table.

J&J, AstraZeneca build on presence in China as policies call for innovation: Policies encouraging innovation and a faster drug approval process this year have spurred foreign drug makers to seek opportunities to strengthen their foothold in the Chinese market.

Sanofi stands by dengue vaccine, says severe post-vaccination cases rare: Sanofi's dengue virus vaccine still shows a "strong and persistent" benefit despite the recently discovered risk for patients never before infected, an executive told journalists amid growing concern from regulators.

Other features

* Shire plc CEO Flemming Ornskov said Roche Holding AG's Hemlibra is not considered a threat to Shire's hemophilia drug Feiba, FiercePharma reported.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng dropped 0.19% to 29,166.38, while the Nikkei 225 slid 0.28% to 22,694.45.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 shed 0.19% to 7,482.40 and the Euronext 100 fell 0.29% to 1,042.12.

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