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In This List

Regeneron, NIH Ebola drugs extend lives; Trump's drug pricing czar to exit

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Regeneron, NIH Ebola drugs extend lives; Trump's drug pricing czar to exit

Top news

* A clinical trial testing experimental Ebola treatments in the Democratic Republic of Congo was stopped early after results showed drugs from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the U.S. National Institutes of Health were superior to the control treatment, Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp. The preliminary results of 499 patients in the Pamoja Tulinde Maisha Ebola study indicated that those who received Regeneron's REGN-EB3 or the NIH's mAb114 had a greater chance of surviving Ebola — a highly deadly infectious disease — versus study participants in the trial's other two arms.

Over 2,800 people in Congo have been infected with Ebola, which has killed almost 1,900 since the current outbreak was declared Aug. 1, 2018. On July 17, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern after a person in Goma — a city of about 2 million people that borders Rwanda — was diagnosed with the virus.

* John O'Brien, the Trump administration's top official on drug pricing reform, plans to soon exit his role at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the head of the agency said. O'Brien's departure comes as President Donald Trump is trying to convince U.S. voters to keep him in office long enough to make headway on his vows to lower drug prices — an effort that has recently run into a number of roadblocks.

* Mylan NV, after turning down one suitor and failing to woo another partner, is joining forces with Pfizer Inc.'s Upjohn division as it seeks to navigate the pricing and quality concerns plaguing the generic drug industry. Along with consolidation comes increased efficiency, which can help bring drug prices down by lowering costs to the manufacturer, Clarkston Consulting CEO Tom Finegan told S&P Global Market Intelligence in an interview, adding that the increased efficiency will help the companies "maintain their profitability through higher volumes while delivering the product more cost-effectively."

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* Months before AbbVie Inc. announced its planned $84.2 billion acquisition of Allergan PLC in June, the two companies' CEOs met to discuss strategy, leading to several rejected offers before the final deal, according to a proxy statement Allergan released yesterday. Allergan also revealed that its CEO Brent Saunders spoke with AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez in March "to discuss market speculation regarding a variety of potential strategic opportunities Allergan may be considering," at which point Gonzalez said AbbVie would consider exploring a transaction.

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 10 individual cases of measles for the week ended Aug. 8, raising the number of cases for 2019 up to 1,182 — the highest since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

On the policy front

* Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, is the latest lawmaker on Capitol Hill probing what led to Novartis AG submitting falsified data in its U.S. marketing application for its gene therapy Zolgensma. The drug — the most expensive medicine in U.S. history at $2.1 million — is used to treat children under two years old with spinal muscular atrophy, a group of genetic neuromuscular disorders.

On Aug. 6, the FDA said it had been informed that data in Zolgensma's U.S. marketing application had been manipulated. Novartis had known about the data manipulation since March — two months before the drug won approval — but waited until late June to tell the FDA.

M&A and capital markets

* Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC acquired Cavion Inc. — a company developing therapies for chronic and rare neurological diseases — for $52.5 million up front. Cavion's lead drug candidate, CX-8998, is being investigated as a potential treatment of essential tremor, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary and rhythmic shaking, most often in the hands.

Operational activity

* Elanco Animal Health Inc. said non-GAAP net income for the second quarter was $101.6 million, or 28 cents per share, up from $98.8 million, or 27 cents per share, a year earlier. Total revenue for the period was $781.6 million, up from $770.2 million in the year-ago period.

* Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said its profit for the fiscal first quarter ended June 30 climbed 31.2% year over year. The Mumbai-based maker of generic drugs said net profit for the quarter totaled 13.87 billion Indian rupees, or 5.78 rupees per share, up from 10.57 billion rupees, or 4.41 rupees per share, in the year-earlier period.

* GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Jack Bailey is stepping down as the company's president of U.S. pharmaceuticals at the end of the year. Maya Martinez-Davis, regional president for the Latin America region at EMD Serono — Merck KGaA's biopharmaceutical business — will replace Bailey in the vacated role.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng dropped 2.10% to 25,281.30, while the Nikkei 225 shed 1.11% to 20,455.44.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 fell 0.41% to 7,196.72, and the Euronext 100 dropped 0.54% to 1,029.18.

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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