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Amyloid-beta theory still on for Alzheimer's; Sanofi's Warp Drive eyes targets

* Patients in the phase 1 clinical trial of Biogen Inc.'s aducanumab, its investigational treatment for early Alzheimer's disease, appeared to have a slower progression of symptoms compared to those on placebo, Bloomberg News reported, citing data presented at the Clinical Trials Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease.

At the same conference Eli Lilly & Co. provided more details on the results of its failed phase 3 trial of solanezumab. Industry publication STAT reported that Lilly's data showed that the drug did not reduce levels of the so-called sticky plaques of amyloid-beta proteins, thus allowing the amyloid hypothesis to live to "fight another day," the paper said.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca PLC and Eli Lilly agreed to co-develop MEDI1814, an antibody selective for amyloid-beta 42, which is in phase 1 trials as a potential disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

* Sanofi believes Warp Drive Bio, its biotech partner, is closer to getting its first new drug candidate as they try to find a fix for molecules that drive diseases, including some cancers, that have been regarded as "undruggable" due to their shape, The Wall Street Journal wrote.

M&A and capital markets

* Omnicell Inc. completed the acquisition of Ateb Inc., along with its Canadian affiliate Ateb Canada Ltd., for about $41 million.

* China Wah Yan Healthcare Ltd. resumed trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after disclosing a unit's plan to acquire Xinhua News Media Holdings Ltd. in a deal valued at HK$251.7 million.

* Strides Shasun Ltd. signed definitive agreements to acquire Perrigo API India Private Ltd. for 1 billion Indian rupees. The transaction is expected to be closed by Dec. 31.

* Renhe Pharmacy Co. Ltd. completed the acquisition of a 70% stake in Shanxi, China-based medical chain company, Reuters reported.

Drug and product pipeline

* Roche Holding Ltd. discontinued pediatric development of phase 3 asthma candidate Lebrikizumab because it demonstrated a lack of efficacy in adults in clinical trials.

* The European Commission granted AbbVie Inc.'s Venclyxto a conditional marketing approval for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in certain cases. The drug is being co-developed with Roche's Genentech.

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's phase 3 trial for its IDP-118 lotion in the treatment of plaque psoriasis showed a treatment success rate of 45.33%. Valeant expects to have data from a second confirmatory phase 3 study in 2017.

* The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted Mylan Pharmaceutical Inc.'s petitions to institute inter partes reviews of six patents related to Allergan PLC's Restasis eye drops for increasing tear production in patients with chronic dry eyes. Allergan expressed disappointment in the agency's decision to institute the review proceedings for patents that protect Restasis.

* Valneva SE is initiating the phase 1 clinical study of its vaccine candidate VLA15 against Lyme disease, following clearance of its investigational new drug application from the U.S. FDA and the approval of its clinical trial application in Europe.

Operational activity

* Edwards Lifesciences Corp. said its fourth-quarter sales are trending toward the lower end of its $750 million to $790 million guidance due to lower surgical heart valve sales and the impact of foreign exchange rates. Edwards projects 2017 adjusted EPS of between $3.30 and $3.45, including an expected net dilution of 10 cents per share from its planned acquisition of Valtech Cardio Ltd.

* BioDelivery Sciences International Inc. and Endo International PLC terminated their licensing agreement for opioid drug Belbuca, effective Jan. 6, 2017. The termination was a strategic decision on Endo's part to exit the U.S. branded pain market.

* AstraZeneca is cutting about 700 roles in its U.S. commercial business, including its North America commercial headquarters, as part of the company's strategy to return to growth. AstraZeneca said it aims to "further streamline and drive greater efficiency across the entire organization."

* Waters Corp. appointed Sherry Buck senior vice president and CFO, effective Jan. 9, 2017, succeeding Eugene Cassis, who will be transitioning to a senior advisory role.

* Perrigo Co. PLC plans to restructure its branded consumer healthcare segment's Omega Pharma Belgium business to improve the financial profile and increase the focus on branded consumer over-the-counter products.

* Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to pay a $19.5 million settlement to resolve claims by 42 states and the District of Columbia that the pharma giant improperly marketed and promoted Abilify, its antipsychotic prescription drug that was originally used to treat schizophrenia.

* Six former executives and managers of INSYS Therapeutics Inc. were arrested yesterday on charges of engaging in a conspiracy to bribe U.S. medical practitioners to prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication and defraud healthcare insurers. Michael Babich, CEO and president and Alec Burlakoff, vice president of sales, are among the former executives indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

* Yoshihiro Narai will resign as chairman of Daito Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., with effect Jan. 5, 2017, Reuters reported.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng slipped 0.44% to 22,760.98, while the Nikkei 225 increased 1.23% to 18,996.37.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.21% to 6,946.08, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.51% to 911.86.

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