* Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it saw positive results for its Zika vaccine in a phase 1 trial. Results published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the DNA-based vaccine induced high levels of binding antibodies in 100% of participants.
* Gilead Sciences Inc.'s triple combination therapy containing bictegravir met its main goal in a phase 3 trial for treating HIV-1 infected adult patients. The study showed that the combination worked as well in treating virologically suppressed HIV-1 infected patients after they were switched from boosted protease inhibitor-based regimens.
Meanwhile, Gilead also entered a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed public health organization, to expand access to bictegravir after regulatory approval in the U.S. Under the deal, the Medicines Patent Pool can sublicense rights to bictegravir to generic drug companies in India, China and South Africa to manufacture therapies containing the drug for distribution in 116 low- and middle-income countries.
* Cigna Corp. said it will stop covering the cost of OxyContin in its employer-based health plans starting in January 2018. The insurer said it will replace OxyContin, an opioid manufactured by Purdue Pharma LP, with Collegium Pharmaceutical Inc.'s Xtampza ER, an extended-release oxycodone equivalent.
On the policy front
* The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry failed in its attempt to secure a judicial review of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's new cost rules for drugs. The trade association sought to challenge the policy that limits funding of medicines expected to cost the National Health Service more than £20 million per year in any of the first three years of use.
M&A and capital markets
* BTG plc is acquiring Roxwood Medical, a developer of catheters used to treat patients with severe coronary and peripheral artery disease. BTG will pay up to $80 million in cash under the deal.
* Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Inc. priced its IPO of 7,050,000 common shares at $17 per share.
* Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to acquire Crystal Bioscience Inc. for $25 million in cash, plus up to an additional $10.5 million in milestone payments and revenue sharing from existing licensees for a defined period.
* The Competition Commission of South Africa said it dropped investigations into Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. and Equity Pharma Holdings (Pty) Ltd. because an excessive pricing case cannot be sustained against the companies. The regulator previously initiated separate probes into Roche Holding AG and Genentech Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Equity, and Aspen for suspected abuse of dominance and excessive pricing of certain cancer medicines.
Teva's flagship product feels sooner-than-expected heat with Mylan approval: Mylan NV's approval to launch the first 40-milligram generic of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s Copaxone in the U.S. has analysts predicting a bleaker future for the already struggling Israeli drugmaker.
* The Wall Street Journal reports about how residents of hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico are dealing with health concerns due to a lack of access to medical care, supplies and clean water.
* A feature by Bloomberg Businessweek discusses the link between the opioid epidemic and the lawyer who first sued tobacco companies for lying about nicotine.
The day ahead
Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.01% to 20,628.56. In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 rose 0.20% to 7,482.17, while the Euronext 100 was up 0.11% to 1,045.34.
The Daily Dose is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.