* Eli Lilly and Co. agreed to acquire skin disease drug developer Dermira Inc. for $18.75 per share, or about $1.1 billion, in an all-cash deal. The acquisition is expected to bolster Eli Lilly's immunology pipeline through the addition of lebrikizumab, an experimental eczema medicine being assessed in late-stage studies.
* Tech giant Apple Inc. is being sued by medical technology company Masimo Corp. for allegedly stealing trade secrets and improperly using Masimo's inventions involving the health monitoring function in the Apple Watch, Bloomberg News reported.
In the case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Masimo and its spinoff unit Cercacor Laboratories Inc. accused the iPhone-maker of hiring the companies' key employees while pretending to collaborate. Masimo and Cercacor are asking the court to halt the further use of their patented technologies in the Apple Watch 4 and 5, along with the return of confidential information and unspecified damages, the news outlet noted.
* Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Chief Medical Officer Samit Hirawat expressed confidence that three product candidates to which the additional contingent value right consideration for its $95 billion acquisition of Celgene Corp. is tied to, will receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, Reuters reported. The product candidates are CAR-T cell therapies bb2121 and JCAR017 and multiple sclerosis drug ozanimod.
* Blueprint Medicines Corp.'s targeted cancer drug Ayvakit was approved by the FDA as the first treatment for patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors who have a specific mutation of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha, or PDGFRA gene, and cannot be surgically removed or have spread to other body parts.
* Emergex Vaccines Holding Ltd., a U.K.-based vaccines company set up by an Emeritus professor of molecular medicine at University College London, raised $11 million from Singapore-based venture capital group Vickers Venture Partners to work on preventing diseases including Ebola and Zika. Established by Thomas Rademacher, also a serial biotech entrepreneur, Emergex Vaccines is developing synthetic T cell vaccines to prevent dengue, Ebola, Zika and other serious infectious diseases.
On the policy front
* California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a proposal that will allow the state to establish its own generic-drug label as part of efforts to battle rising costs of healthcare, The Wall Street Journal reported. The plan is part of the governor's budget proposal for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the newspaper added.
* The U.S. FDA proposed withdrawing the approval of 249 abbreviated new drug applications — filed by drugmakers seeking approval for a generic version of an existing licensed medication or approved drug — submitted by various companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said the decision was due to the companies' repeated failure to file required annual reports for these applications.
M&A and capital markets
* AMAG Pharmaceuticals Inc. is divesting Intrarosa and Vyleesi, two of its three medicines for conditions affecting women's health, following a strategic review of the company's product portfolio. Intrarosa is approved to treat painful sexual intercourse in post-menopausal women, while Vyleesi is for low sexual desire in premenopausal women.
In addition, William Heiden is stepping down as AMAG's president and CEO but will continue his role until a replacement is named.
* Contract research organization PPD Inc. filed for an IPO of its common stock to raise up to $100 million. The Wilmington, N.C.-based provider of drug development services plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
* ANI Pharmaceuticals Inc. acquired 23 generic products from privately held pharmaceutical company Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Ltd. for $52.5 million in cash.
Drug and product pipeline
* VBI Vaccines Inc. said Sci-B-Vac worked as well as GlaxoSmithKline PLC's Engerix-B in producing an immune response among patients with hepatitis B in the late-stage Constant study.
* Innate Pharma SA's mid-stage Tellomak study evaluating its blood cancer drug lacutamab was put on partial clinical hold by the FDA after problems with the vials — provided to Innate by its subcontractor — used in the trial were discovered.
* Elanco Animal Health Inc. said it expects its full-year 2020 adjusted EPS to be in the range of $1.09 to $1.16, while reported EPS is estimated to be 4 cents to 16 cents. The animal health company also forecasts total revenue to be between $3.05 billion to $3.11 billion for the year.
* German companies Evotec SE and Bayer AG expanded their partnership in women's health with a new five-year collaboration to develop multiple potential treatments for polycystic ovary syndrome, a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age who may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone levels.
* Pfizer is collaborating with private biotech eFFECTOR Therapeutics Inc. to develop small-molecule inhibitors of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E, a protein that resists certain cancer treatments and is linked to poor prediction of the disease.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.27% to 28,638.20, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.47% to 23,850.57.
In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.02% to 7,599.56, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.05% to 1,159.24.
Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.
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