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Roche scores in cancer trial; Americans say drugmakers more influential than NRA

Top news

* Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said its cancer drug Tecentriq when taken with Avastin and chemotherapy helped certain lung cancer patients live longer in a late-stage trial.

* In a new poll from the nonpartisan, nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, 72% of responders said drug manufacturers held the most sway over lawmakers, versus 52% for the National Rifle Association.

On the policy front

* Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine had tried, but failed, to get a measure into the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that would have temporarily restored the ACA's cost-sharing reduction subsidies — funds Trump ended in October 2017 — and provided $10 billion per year over three years in federal reinsurance.

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a policy document aiming to limit the number of drugs that can be used by outsourcing facilities to create new medicinal combinations by preparing a list of drug ingredients that have a clinical use.

M&A and capital markets

* Announced private equity and venture capital U.S. healthcare deals reached an all-time high in terms of the number of deals in 2017, with 128 deals valued at approximately $14.2 billion announced last year, S&P Global Market Intelligence data shows.

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Drug and product pipeline

* Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co. Ltd.'s anti-migraine drug, rimegepant, met the main goals in two late-stage clinical trials. The medicine was better than placebo at getting rid of pain and "most bothersome" migraine-associated symptoms in patients two hours after taking the first dose, results from the two studies showed.

* U.K.-based Verona Pharma plc said its RPL554 drug significantly improved the lung function in a phase 2b trial among patients with a breathing disorder known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

* Protagonist Therapeutics Inc. said it will abandon a phase 2b study of its potential ulcerative colitis therapy, PTG-100, after an interim analysis deemed the study futile. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract.

* Belgium-based TiGenix NV and Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. received European Commission approval for Alofisel to treat conditions associated with Crohn's disease — an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract.

* The European Medicines Agency recommended approving six new medicines in March, including Amgen Inc. and Allergan PLC's Kanjinti, a biosimilar of Roche's breast cancer drug Herceptin.

* Pfizer Inc. said its Chantix smoking-cessation treatment failed to help adolescents kick the habit in a study required by regulators.

Operational activity

* Chinese pharmaceutical distributor Sinopharm Group Co. Ltd. reported a 13.68% year-over-year rise in profit for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017, to 5.28 billion yuan.

* Pfizer will launch an over-the-counter version of its erectile dysfunction therapy, Viagra, in the U.K. to boost the falling sales of the off-patent drug, the Telegraph reported.

* AMAG Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG's Sandoz Inc. unit agreed to settle their patent dispute involving AMAG's anemia drug Feraheme.

* Indivior PLC said a U.S. court found that privately held Alvogen, Inc. did not violate three of the patents related to its opioid addiction therapy, Suboxone Film.

* Shire PLC said a U.S. district court ruled that Abhai LLC infringed on the Dublin-based drugmaker's patents related to the extended-release version of its attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall.

Our features

* Celgene's neurology venture the latest strategy for revenue after Revlimid: After a string of setbacks that hit its stock price, the U.S. drugmaker is expanding its search for the next blockbuster medicine to new therapy areas.

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Other features

* GlaxoSmithKline PLC CEO Emma Walmsley is transforming the British drugmaker's research-and-development operations after she replaced nearly half of the company's top 125 executives and reshaped its drug development unit by removing or reshuffling 400 scientists, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* Israel is planning to invest nearly 1 billion shekels to provide researchers and private companies access to the digital health records of its 9 million citizens as part of a so-called big data push to improve healthcare, Reuters reported.

* Reuters also has a report on Singapore's pharmaceutical manufacturing output, which is expected to recover following a dismal 2017.

* Guido Rasi, the head of the European Medicines Agency, spoke to the Financial Times about the regulator's upcoming physical relocation to Amsterdam as a result of Brexit.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.79% to 30,548.77. The Nikkei 225 added 0.72% to 20,766.10.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.45% to 6,952.81, and the Euronext 100 rose 0.27% to 999.02.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET.

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