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Today, 11:58 AM
- Embattled upstart blood-testing firm Theranos received a warning letter last month from Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA -1.9%) that it may end their relationship unless it can quickly fix the problems at its Newark, CA laboratory. Apparently, Theranos' largest customer has given it until the end of the month to resolve the issues cited in a government audit.
- Theranos is running the tests normally performed at the Newark site at its Arizona facility. Its director, however, does not have a medical degree nor is pathology board-certified. The company says it has hired a new director who has the appropriate credentials, but has not publicly named the person.
- If WBA pulls the plug, Theranos will struggle to recover, say analysts. If this happens, it would a stunning collapse for the company and founder Elizabeth Holmes, who was the world's youngest female self-made billionaire based on her stake in the firm that was valued as high as $9B.
- Previously: Walgreens halts openings of new Theranos centers (Oct. 24, 2015)
- Previously: Theranos' $350M Safeway deal on the rocks (Nov. 11, 2015)
- Previously: Theranos in more hot water (Jan. 27)
Today, 2:23 AM
- Theranos' main retail partner has threatened to terminate its relationship with the blood-testing company unless it quickly fixes the problems found by federal inspectors at a laboratory in California, WSJ reports.
- The warning from Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) gives privately held Theranos a 30-day deadline that expires near the end of February to resolve major infractions that violate the U.S. law governing clinical labs.
- Previously: Walgreens pulls back from Theranos (Jan. 29 2016)
Fri, Feb. 5, 9:11 AM
- Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ:SGEN) initiated with Overweight rating and $51 (54% upside) price target by Barclay's.
- Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) initiated with Buy rating and $110 (27% upside) price target by Standpoint Research.
- Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO) initiated with Buy rating and $10 (21% upside) price target by Canaccord Genuity.
- Eyegate Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:EYEG) initiated with Buy rating and $10 (253% upside) price target by H.C. Wainwright.
- Summit Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SMMT) initiated with Buy rating and $14 (75% upside) price target by Canaccord Genuity.
- Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) initiated with Neutral rating and $88 (14% upside) price target by Atlantic Equities.
- Bluebird bio (NASDAQ:BLUE) initiated with Outperform rating and $67 (36% upside) price target by Leerink Swann.
- Kite Pharma (NASDAQ:KITE) initiated with Outperform rating and $85 (80% upside) price target by RBC Capital.
- VolitionRX (NYSEMKT:VNRX) initiated with Buy rating and $12 (217% upside) price target by H.C. Wainwright.
- Acadia Healthcare (NASDAQ:ACHC) initiated with Overweight rating and $85 (42% upside) price target by KeyBanc.
Fri, Jan. 29, 12:03 PM
- Medifast (MED +1.4%) initiated with Hold rating and $32 (10% upside) price target by Wunderlich.
- Kite Pharma (KITE +4.1%) initiated with Buy rating and $70 (51% upside) price target by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.
- STAAR Surgical (STAA +0.3%) initiated with Hold rating by Benchmark.
- Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR -2.4%) initiated with Buy rating and $21 (57% upside) price target by Janney Capital.
- BioBlast Pharma (ORPN +7.7%) initiated with Buy rating and $25 (574% upside) price target by H.C. Wainwright.
- CVS Health (CVS +1.3%) initiated with Outperform rating and $108 (14% upside) price target by Baird.
- Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA +1.1%) initiated with Outperform rating and $96 (22% upside) price target by Baird.
- Intercept Pharma (ICPT +0.6%) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight by Morgan Stanley. Price target is $100 (0% upside).
- Stryker (SYK +1.8%) upgraded to Buy from Hold by Brean Capital. Price target is $115 (16% upside).
- Voyager Therapeutics (VYGR -0.7%) upgraded to Neutral from Sell by Chardan Capital. Price target lowered to $15 (50% upside) from $20.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY +1.9%) upgraded to Buy from Hold by Berenberg. Price target raised to $77 (24% upside) from $74.
- Oncomed Pharmaceuticals (OMED -0.3%) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform by Leerink. Price target lowered to $11 (23% upside) from $27.
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN +0.6%) downgraded to Sell from Neutral by Chardan Capital. Price target lowered to $400 (4% downside risk) from $525.
Fri, Jan. 29, 2:30 AM
- In the wake of a critical regulatory inspection report, Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) is suspending some ties with Theranos, temporarily closing its Wellness Center in Palo Alto, California.
- Is the drugstore tie-up on the rocks? Walgreens in October suspended plans to open more Theranos Wellness Centers on reports that its proprietary lab instrument handled just a fraction of tests, and that the company had stopped collecting finger prick blood samples for all but one of its more than 240 checks.
- Previously: Theranos executive says "immediate jeopardy" report does not reflect reality (Jan. 27 2016)
Thu, Jan. 28, 4:29 PM
Mon, Jan. 25, 2:09 AM
- U.S. health inspectors have found serious deficiencies at Theranos' northern California laboratory that, if not fixed, could see the lab suspended from the Medicare program, sources told WSJ.
- It wasn't immediately clear what regulators faulted the blood-testing firm for, but results of the inspection are expected to be made public soon.
- The findings could also lead Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) to take an even harder look at what remains of its partnership with Theranos.
- Previously: Walgreens halts openings of new Theranos centers (Oct. 24 2015)
Thu, Jan. 14, 2:51 AM
- WebMD (NASDAQ:WBMD), the U.S. online health information publisher, is exploring the possible sale of all or part of its business, FT reports.
- The company is said to be in talks with Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) and UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), among other potential buyers.
- Since the start of the year WebMD shares have risen 10%, giving the company a market value of close to $2B.
- Update: Shares are up 6% premarket on increased volume.
Thu, Jan. 7, 7:52 AM
- Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) reports comparable-store sales rose 5.8% in FQ1.
- Retail pharmacy USA division sales rose 4.2% to $20.37B.
- Pharmacy sales rose 6.7% on a 4.7% gain in prescription count for the quarter.
- Adjusted gross margin rate fell 130 bps to 26%.
- Adjusted gross margin rates by segment: Retail Pharmacy USA 27%, Retail Pharmacy International 42.6%, Pharmaceutical Worldwide 9.6%.
- Adjusted SG&A expense rate -210 bps to 20.1%.
- Adjusted operating margin rate increased 20 bps to 5.9%.
- FY2016 Guidance: Adjusted EPS: $4.30 to $4.55.
- WBA -0.19% premarket.
Thu, Jan. 7, 7:03 AM
Wed, Jan. 6, 5:30 PM
Dec. 22, 2015, 3:49 AM
- Buried in the details of a new 20-year distribution agreement between Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) is a $150M financial hit to Valeant that underscores the unusual nature of the deal (which will see the firm buy back its own drugs from Walgreens and then resell them on consignment to the pharmacy).
- The pact will help Valeant replace a controversial mail-order pharmacy, Philidor, which had close ties to the drug company and used aggressive tactics to win insurance payments.
- Previously: Valeant inks fulfillment deal with Walgreens; shares up 8% premarket (Dec. 15 2015)
Dec. 15, 2015, 9:00 AM
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) enters into a 20-year fulfillment agreement with Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) under which consumers can conveniently access Valeant's dermatology and ophthalmology products and its over-the-counter portfolio from more than 8,000 Walgreens U.S.-based pharmacies. In addition, it will reduce the wholesale list prices of its branded prescription-based dermatology and ophthalmology offerings by 10%, to be phased in over the next six to nine months. The agreement takes effect in Q1.
- The companies have also inked a separate deal under which Valeant will distribute more than 30 branded products, where generics are available, through Walgreens at generic prices. The discounted pricing, ranging from 5% to 95%, will be available to patients in H2 2016. Eligible products represent dermatology, ophthalmology, gastrointestinal and neurology/other and include Aldara, Tiazac and Glumetza.
- Valeant expects the price discounts to provide up to $600M in annual savings to the U.S. healthcare system, when fully implemented.
- The company intends to extend this distribution model to additional independent retail pharmacies.
Nov. 11, 2015, 8:59 AM
- Grocer Safeway's (NYSE:SWY) much-ballyhooed initiative to build medical clinics in its supermarkets in which they would offer blood tests by diagnostics upstart Theranos is apparently DOA. The clinics, numbering about 800 and costing $350M to set up, are now used primarily for delivering flu shots and travel-related vaccines after Theranos kept delaying the roll-out of its tests and backed away from its plan to place its analyzers in each clinic, opting instead to ship the blood samples to a central location for testing.
- Safeway's interest in providing wellness services was driven by then-CEO Steven Burd who retired in 2013. The plan was to establish upscale clinics in stores that would house Theranos' analyzers which would provide rapid test results from finger-stick samples.
- The initial phase of the project ran into difficultly when comparative blood testing was performed at the headquarters clinic. Both finger stick and venous samples were taken from employee volunteers which gave them the impression that the finger stick samples were a work in progress. Not helping matters was a male volunteer who received a PSA result that indicated the presence of prostate cancer but came back normal when retested by another lab.
- The project has been dormant for more than a year. CEO Elizabeth Holmes has ceased interacting with Safeway executives and has delegated the management of the relationship to President and COO Sunny Balwani.
- Theranos' deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) to establish blood-testing centers in its stores is on hold (41 current locations) until questions about its technology are answered.
- Previously: Walgreens halts openings of new Theranos centers (Oct. 24)
- Previously: Theranos chief Holmes says technology sound (Oct. 21)
Nov. 2, 2015, 7:27 PM
- Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA +2.2%) says it would be willing to sell off up to 1,000 stores in order to wrap a buyout of Rite Aid (RAD +0.6%).
- The company had said it had looked at antitrust concerns but hadn't put a number to what divestitures might be required.
- One thousand of the stores would come to 8% of the combined companies' total footprint, though in a presentation filed with the SEC, Walgreens "believes the most likely outcome is divestments of less than half this number."
- Walgreens said it expects the deal to be accretive during the first full year after closing, with synergies in excess of $1B, primarily from procurement, cost savings and operational synergies.
- Previously: Regulatory concerns surround Walgreens, Rite Aid deal (Oct. 29 2015)
Oct. 29, 2015, 2:32 AM
- Top antitrust lawmakers in the U.S. Senate are calling for close scrutiny of Walgreens Boots Alliance's (NASDAQ:WBA) plan to buy Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD), the latest healthcare consolidation following the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
- The deal would unite two of the three largest U.S. drugstore chains, the other being CVS Health (NYSE:CVS).
- Walgreens Chief Executive Stefano Pessina said previously that the company had analyzed the antitrust aspect of the deal but did not speculate on the number of drugstores it might need to divest in order to win regulatory approval.
- Previously: Walgreens buying Rite Aid for $17.2B ($9/share) (Oct. 27 2015)
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc operates drug-stores chain in the United States. It provides consumer goods and services, pharmacy, and health and wellness services through drug-stores, as well as mail, and by telephone and online.
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