Today - Monday, March 10, 2014
- Professor Teruhiko Wakayama, the scientist behind the recent apparent discovery of a novel way to induce pluripotent stem cells ((iPSCs)), now says the published study should be withdrawn and reanalyzed due to the emergence of mistakes.
- The study was first reported on January 28 and created a global sensation because it showed that normal cells could be transformed into stem cells by dipping them in acid. Questions soon arose about certain images Prof. Wakayama used in the paper. Other research groups have been unable to reproduce her findings thereby adding to the controversy.
- The situation is attracting intense media scrutiny because of another scandal that happened several years ago when a self-taught scientist with a degree in nursing treated a heart disease patient with cardiac cells derived from the patient's own iPCSs. He was eventually dismissed from his position at the University of Tokyo.
- (CUR) (STEM) (PSTI)
- Both Bill Ackman and Herbalife hired lobbyists last year to press their respective cases with politicians, spending $264,000 and $2M, respectively.
- Herbalife also spent $1.3M lobbying on its own behalf.
- Massachusetts senator Edward Markey recently asked both the SEC and FTC to look into Herbalife.
- California representative Linda T. Sanchez also asks the FTC to look into the firm.
- Ackman's Pershing Square hedge fund has made a $1B short bet that HLF shares will plummet after regulators agree with his thesis that the company is a pyramid scheme.
- Shares currently trade at $65, down from the peak of $83.51 reached on January 8.
- 636 mutual funds have positions, up from 609 a year earlier.
11:41 AM| 3 Comments
- Wells Fargo initiates coverage of Flexion Theapeutics (FLXN) with an Outperform rating with a price target of $24 - $26 citing positive Phase 2 trial results of its lead product, FX006, a sustained-release injectable steroid for osteoarthritis pain.
- Needham & Co. initiates coverage with a Buy rating and $26 price target.
- The stock debuted on February 12.
- Shares currently exchange hands at $19.
- H.C. Wainwright initiates coverage of Seattle Genetics (SGEN) with a Buy rating and $65 price target citing the potential of its targeted antibody drug conjugate, Adcetris, to move into new cancer indications.
- Shares currently trade at $51.
- 368 mutual funds have positions, down from 402 a year earlier.
- H.C. Wainwright initiates coverage of PhamAthene (PIP) with a Buy rating and $4 price target.
- Bullish outlook based mainly on a successful outcome of its litigation with SIGA Technologies over the small pox antiviral product Arestvyr.
- Shares currently trade at $1.95.
- 19 mutual funds have positions, up from 15 a year earlier.
- Northstar Global Business Services (MDIN) partners with Dixie Elixirs and Kush Creams on a THC oral spray for sleeping disorders such as snoring.
- One of the most popular reasons doctors prescribe medical marijuana is, unsurprisingly, for patients experiencing difficulty sleeping.
- No word on an offering that will deter trips to the refrigerator.
- The WSJ profiles "pharmaceutical scouts," who, like talent-spotters in baseball "trying to pick tomorrow's big-leaguers from farm teams," search outside their companies to find drug candidates that have the potential to become blockbusters.
- In 2011, for instance, Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Peter Lebowitz helped his company beat competitors such as Novartis (NVS) to buy the rights to a blood-cancer drug from Pharmacyclics (PCYC) called Imbruvica.
- The treatment was eventually approved in November for a rare lymphoma and for chronic lymphocytic leukemia in February. J.P. Morgan forecasts Imbruvica will generate $1.3B in revenue for J&J in 2017.
- Half of J&J's drug pipeline is from outside the company, up from 20% in 2002.
- Other related tickers: MRK, RHHBY, BMY, SNY, CELG, GSK
- OrthoSensor announces that Smith & Nephew (SNN) will market its Verasense Sensor Assisted Surgery Technology to assist orthopedic surgeons when implanting SNN's Journey and Legion brands of Total Knee Systems.
- The system enables evidence-based surgical decisions and delivers improved patient outcomes.
- SNN shares are up 9% year to date.
- Shares of Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) are up almost 17% premarket on no significant news.
- Consensus revenue estimates for 2014 and 2015 are $1.5M and $7.7M, respectively.
- 175 mutual funds have positions, down from 198 a year earlier.
- Three analysts rate the company at least Buy, eight rate it Hold, two rate it Underperform and one rates it Sell.
- The FDA has postponed a meeting of an advisory committee to discuss whether or not to recommend approving EnteroMedics' (ETRM) Maestro System therapy for treating morbid obesity.
- The meeting will take place on June 17 rather than on May 29.
- EnteroMedics said the delay is due to a scheduling conflict.
- Notwithstanding what seems to be a rather innocuous reason for the postponement, shares are -3.85%. (PR)
- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has agreed to sell the global rights to its K-Y brand of intimate lubricants to Reckitt Benckiser (RBGLY).
- While the price of the deal wasn't provided, Reckitt did say that K-Y had 2013 sales of over $100M, the majority of which was generated in the U.S. Canada and Brazil.
- K-Y adds to Reckitt's Durex brand.
- The transaction doesn't include staff or fixed assets. (PR)
9:00 AM| Comment!
- Indian generic-drug makers Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Ranbaxy Laboratories have recalled batches of treatments in the U.S. following complaints of bottling mix-ups.
- Sun Pharma diabetes tablets were found with an epilepsy medication, while Ranbaxy pulled two batches of its version of Pfizer's Lipitor cholesterol drug.
- The recalls come amid increasing scrutiny of generic drugs manufactured in India and of Ranbaxy (RBXLY) in particular - four of its plants are banned from exporting to the U.S. after failing to meet FDA strictures.
- Ranbaxy is owned by Japan's Daiichi Sankyo (DSKYF).