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  • Today - Monday, April 27, 2015

  • 2:42 AM
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  • 2:24 AM
    • Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) has finished removing genetically engineered ingredients from its foods, becoming the first major restaurant chain to do so amid growing concerns about the agricultural technology.
    • The company has been working for more than two years to eliminate ingredients made with GMOs, hoping to be done by the end of 2014, but the transition "took a little longer" than previously thought, a Chipotle spokesman said.
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  • 2:07 AM
    • The British government has told BP (NYSE:BP) it would oppose any potential takeover of the company, which was seriously weakened by the huge bill incurred after the Deepwater Horizon disaster and a recent plunge in oil prices.
    • Authorities acknowledge that the U.K. would have few formal powers to block a bid, but a senior City figure briefed on the government thinking said making its opposition so clear may deter any foreign company making an offer, FT reports.
    • British officials have also said the government would be skeptical about any takeover - even if it involves Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) - because it wants the country to have two big global oil companies.
    • Previously: BP's Dudley does not foresee wave of energy mergers, at least not yet (Apr. 21 2015)
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  • 1:42 AM
    • Nokia (NYSE:NOK) on Sunday squashed rumors that it was planning a return to mobile-device manufacturing, which it exited last year by selling its once-dominant handset business to Microsoft.
    • "These reports are false," Nokia declared, adding that the company "currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets."
    • Earlier this month, Nokia launched a $16.6B bid to acquire French rival Alcatel-Lucent, looking to solidify its position in the wireless infrastructure industry.
  • 12:00 AM
  • Sunday, April 26, 2015

  • 5:35 PM
  • 5:30 PM
  • 4:57 PM
  • 11:59 AM
  • 11:10 AM
    • Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) reported first-quarter net profit that plunged to €559M from €1.1B a year earlier as hefty litigation charges outweighed a near record of €10.4B (+24% Y/Y) in revenue.
    • Last week's $2.5B legal settlement for Libor rigging bit into the group's bottom line and totally depleted the €1.5B it set aside in legal reserves.
    • Deutsche also said co-chief executives Anshu Jain and Jurgen Fitschen, as well as strategy chief Stefan Krause, will present details of its long-awaited overhaul on Monday morning.
  • 11:04 AM
    • Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) says it has no plans to change the sweetener for Diet Coke away from aspartame.
    • PepsiCo and other beverage sellers have shifted some focus to the use of natural sweeteners and increased their investment in vegetable and protein drinks.
    • Sales of Diet Coke fell 6% Y/Y in Q1 to trail the pace seen by the Sprite, Coke, and Fanta brands.
    • During the earning call last week, Coca-Cola execs said finding the right path to grow Diet Coke sales was still a "work in progress" amid shifting consumer tastes.
    • Some beverage industry analysts have noted millennials tend to hop around new upstart brands (energy/protein/fruit) in the same way they prefer sampling craft beers instead of locking in on cases of Bud Light and Budweiser.
    • Coca-Cola earnings call transcript
    • Related: PepsiCo rethinks sweeteners (April 24)
  • 10:45 AM
    • The finance ministers of Slovenia and Germany on Saturday acknowledged for the first time that they are considering plans on what to do if a Greek deal is not reached by the end of June, breaking their long-held stance of insisting that the country must stay in the eurozone.
    • The issue of a "Plan B" was raised during Friday's Eurogroup meeting in Riga, where Athens was strongly criticized for delaying the list of reforms needed to unlock its next round of funding.
    • ETFs: GREK
  • 6:48 AM
    • While the Bank of Japan is likely to cut growth and inflation forecasts this week, the question of additional stimulus still remains.
    • Japan's central bank is expected to trim its inflation forecast for 2015 by several tenths of a percentage point from 1%, and shave its growth forecast from the current 2.1%.
    • Despite inflation dropping back to zero, governor Haruhiko Kuroda has argued strongly that the BOJ's existing QE program is on track, leading many economists to think further easing is unlikely for now.
  • 6:14 AM
    • Sony (NYSE:SNE) has again raised its operating profit estimate for fiscal 2015, the Nikkei reports, upping its forecast for the third time in three months.
    • Due to expectations for higher display sensor and Playstation console sales, the company now anticipates operating profit of ¥300B ($2.52B) - four times its previous estimate and its highest earnings since 2008.
    • Sony also expects earnings for fiscal year 2016 to improve as its restructuring costs decline.
    • Previously: Sony raises forecast for full-year profit (Apr. 22 2015)
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  • Saturday, April 25, 2015

  • 7:30 PM
    • A Phase 3 trial, ALLY-1, evaluating a 12-week regimen of the combination Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE:BMY) daclatasvir and Gilead's (NASDAQ:GILD) Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) plus ribavirin (RBV) for the treatment of HCV patients with advanced cirrhosis (n=60) or post-liver transplant recurrence of HCV (n=53) met its primary efficacy endpoints.
    • Cure rates, defined as SVR12, were 83% (n=50/60) for patients with advanced cirrhosis; 94% (n=50/53) for those with post-transplant HCV recurrence; 95% for post-transplant HCV-1s and 82% for HCV-1s with advanced cirrhosis.
    • The data were presented at the 50th Annual Congress of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna, Austria.
  • 7:05 PM
    • Merck (NYSE:MRK) announces the presentation of results from two Phase 2 studies of its investigational HCV combination therapy, grazoprevir/elbasvir (G/E).
    • The first trial, C-SALVAGE, assessed 12 weeks of G/E therapy plus ribavirin (RBV) in HCV-1 patients who previously failed treatment with peginterferon and RBV combined with a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) (boceprevir, simeprevir or telaprevir). 34 patients (43%) of the 79 who received at least one dose of G/E were cirrhotic. The overall cure rate (sustained virologic response 12 weeks after treatment or SVR12) was 96% (n=76/79). The cure rate in patients with compensated cirrhosis was 94% (n=32/34). Three patients relapsed after the completion of therapy. All three had resistance-associated variants at baseline.
    • The second trial, C-SWIFT, was a proof-of-concept study assessing G/E + Gilead's (NASDAQ:GILD) Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) over shorter treatment durations in treatment-naive HCV-1 and HCV-3 patients with or without cirrhosis. The cure rates (SVR12) were: HCV-1 non-cirrhotic/4 weeks: 33% (n=10/30); HCV-1 non-cirrhotic/6 weeks: 87% (n=26/30); HCV-1 cirrhotic/6 weeks: 80% (n=16/20); HCV-1 cirrhotic/8 weeks: 94% (n=17/18); HCV-3 non-cirrhotic/8 weeks: 93% (n=14/15); HCV-3 cirrhotic/8 weeks: 100% (n=14/14); HCV-3 cirrhotic/12 weeks: 91% (n=10/11).
    • The data were presented at the 50th Annual Congress of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna, Austria.
  • 6:18 PM
    • A Phase 2 "proxy" study evaluating the combination of Gilead's (NASDAQ:GILD) Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Achillion Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:ACHN) investigational NS5A inhibitor, ACH-3102, in treatment-naive HCV-1 patients showed a cure rate (SVR12) of 100% (n=6/6) after six weeks of treatment and 100% (n=12/12) after eight weeks of treatment. According to the company, this is the first study to report 100% SVR12 based on a two-drug combo for six weeks.
    • In a Phase 1 proof-of-concept study, six HCV-1 patients who received the company's prodrug inhibitor of HCV NS5B polymerase, ACH-3422, once daily for 14 days showed a mean reduction in HCV viral RNA load of 4.6 log10 IU/ml with three being undetectable.
    • The company reported basically the same data on an interim basis in December.
    • The data were presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna, Austria.
    • Previously: Achillion reports positive interim results for HCV candidates (Dec. 22, 2014)
  • 5:53 PM
  • 5:48 PM
    • Preliminary data from a Phase 3 study, RUBY-1, evaluating AbbVie's (NYSE:ABBV) Viekirax (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir) + Exviera (dasabuvir), with or without ribavirin, for 12 or 24 weeks in treatment-naive, non-cirrhotic HCV-1 patients with severe renal impairment (stage 4 or 5), including those on hemodialysis, showed a 100% SVR4 rate (n=10/10) (sustained virologic response four weeks after treatment). Enrollment is 20 patients, but only half had reached week 4 post treatment at the data cutoff.
    • The primary endpoint of the trial is the percentage of patients achieving SVR12. Cohort 1 consists of 20 patients without cirrhosis while cohort 2 has 20 patients with or without compensated cirrhosis.
    • The data were presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna, Austria.
    • Related tickers: (NASDAQ:ENTA) (NASDAQ:GILD) (NYSE:MRK) (NYSE:BMY)
  • 5:22 PM
    • A 592-patient randomized Phase 3 study, called BOSON, evaluating the regimen of Gilead Sciences' (NASDAQ:GILD) Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), in combination with ribavirin (RBV) alone or pegylated interferon (PEG) and RBV, demonstrated high cures rates (sustained virologic response 12 weeks after treatment or SVR12) in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, genotypes 2 and 3.
    • The regimen of Sovaldi + RBV for 16 or 24 weeks was compared to Sovaldi + PEG/RBV for 12 weeks in treatment-naive or treatment-experienced HCV-3 patients with or without cirrhosis and treatment-experienced HCV-2 patients with cirrhosis. 37% of the study participants were cirrhotic.
    • The cure rate for the Sovaldi + PEG/RBV/12-week arm in HCV-3 patients was 93% (n=168/181). Additional cure rates were: Sovaldi + RBV/24 weeks - HCV-3: 84% (n=153/182); Sovaldi + RBV/16 weeks - HCV-3: 71% (n=128/181); Sovaldi + PEG/RBV in treatment-experienced HCV-3 with cirrhosis: 86% (n=30/35).
    • Cure rates in HCV-2 were: Sovaldi + PEG/RBV: 94% (n=15/16); Sovaldi + RBV/24 weeks: 100% (n=17/17); Sovaldi + RBV/16 weeks: 87% (n=13/15).
    • Results from a France-based Phase 2 study assessing Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) in HCV genotypes 4 and 5 (half were cirrhotic) showed cure rates of 93% (n=41/44) for HCV-4 and 95% (n=39/41) for HCV-5.
    • Genotype 3, the second most prevalent after genotype 1, is the most resistant to therapy. Genotypes 4 and 5 are less prevalent and have not been studied as closely. Genotype 2 characterizes almost one third of HCV infections in Japan.
    • The data were presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna, Austria.
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