Jun. 4, 2014, 11:29 AM| Comment!
Jun. 4, 2014, 9:43 AM
- AstraZeneca (AZN +0.2%) and Cigna (CI) -0.1%) ink a deal whereby the insurer will use predictive modeling software to authorize paying for Crestor instead of relying on prior authorization. Cigna says that it will lower drug costs because the Big Data-based model will flag patients most at risk for atherosclerosis and will approve the immediate use of Crestor instead of following the traditional "step therapy" rule requiring the patients to try cheaper drugs first. It is also a win for AZN because it will be CI's brand-name statin. The initiative should help support sales before the product goes off patent in 2016.
Jun. 2, 2014, 8:01 AM
- At this week's American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, cancer immunotherapies are all the rage. Using the body's immune system to battle cancer is significantly extending survival times for a variety of cancers and has created the next frontier for blockbusters. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Merck (MRK), Roche (RHHBY) and AstraZeneca (AZN) are all racing to bring their offerings to market.
- Some caution is warranted, however. The drugs work for only a minority of patients and they frequently have significant side effects, especially when a combination of therapies is used. For example, in a trial of BMY's Yervoy for advanced lung cancer, half of the 46 patients in the trial suffered serious side effects and three died from the drugs themselves.
May 27, 2014, 4:52 PM
- Actavis (ACT +0.3%) files an ANDA for a generic version of AstraZeneca (AZN -0.3%) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY +0.2%) Onglyza (saxagliptin hydrochloride), a treatment for glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.
- AZN filed suit against ACT on May 23, 2014 to prevent it from commercializing its generic version prior to the expiration of the '400 patent. The court instituted a stay of final FDA approval of the ANDA until January 31, 2017 or final resolution of the suit, whichever occurs sooner. ACT believes it is the first filer so it will be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity upon regulatory clearance.
- According to IMS Health Data, U.S. Onglyza sales were ~$532M for the 12-month period ending February 28, 2014.
May 26, 2014, 10:25 AM
- As expected, Pfizer (PFE) has abandoned its attempt to acquire AstraZeneca (AZN) for £69.4B ($117B), saying that "it does not intend to make an offer" for the U.K. company after the latter rejected Pfizer's latest proposal.
- Under British law, the U.S. giant can not make another bid for AstraZeneca for three-to-six months. (PR)
- Previous coverage
May 26, 2014, 7:23 AM
- Pfizer (PFE) is on the brink of halting its attempt to acquire AstraZeneca (AZN) for £69.4B ($117B), Bloomberg reports.
- Under British law, Pfizer has until 5 pm in the U.K. to make a firm offer, but it is expected to say that it won't make one. The company would then have to wait three-to-six months to make another proposal.
- Pfizer hopes that AstraZeneca shareholders will use the time to pressure their company to engage with the U.S. firm.
May 22, 2014, 6:19 PM
- AstraZeneca’s (AZN) largest shareholder, BlackRock (BLK), wants the drugmaker to renew its talks with Pfizer (PFE) about a potential deal at a later date, NYT's DealBook reports.
- BlackRock reportedly has told AZN’s board that it supports the decision not to accept PFE's latest offer, which valued AZN at ~$117B, but would prefer the companies engage in further talks as soon as three months from now, when certain restrictions would expire under British takeover rules.
- Under British takeover rules, PFE wouldn’t be able to come back with another offer for AZN for six months time following Monday’s deadline, although it could offer a higher price in three months if AZN’s board agreed to talks.
May 21, 2014, 7:16 AM
- Pfizer (PFE) could still raise its bid for AstraZeneca (AZN) despite its statement that its latest offer was final and the apparent restrictions in doing so per the U.K. City Code on Takeovers and Mergers. All its has to do is get the AZN BOD to recommend its higher proposal.
- AZN got a welcome endorsement from one of its major institutional shareholders, Neil Woodford, when he stated that AZN will earn better returns for shareholders by remaining independent. Other big stakeholders like Axa Investment Managers and Schroder Investment Management have complained that AZN management should have negotiated with PFE instead of quickly rejecting its offers.
- This one ain't dead yet. PFE may only have to raise its bid ~10% to get it done. This doesn't seem insurmountable.
May 20, 2014, 5:07 PM
- The FDA approves Takeda's Entyvio (vedolizumab) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis and moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease in adult patients who have not responded to one or more standard therapies.
- Vedolizumab is an integrin receptor antagonist. Integrin receptors are proteins expressed on the surface of certain cells and function as bridges for cell-to-cell interactions. The mAb works by blocking the migration of circulating inflammatory cells across blood vessels and into areas of inflammation in the GI tract.
- Related tickers: (SHPG) (JNJ) (AZN) (BIIB) (ABBV)
May 20, 2014, 4:46 PM
- The New England Journal of Medicine publishes the results from a 31-patient 12-week Phase 1 proof-of-concept study of Amgen's (AMGN +0.1%) AMG-157 mAb for asthma. The study's conclusion is that AMG-157 reduced allergen-induced bronchoconstriction and indexes of airway inflammation before and after allergen challenge. The results are statistically significant.
- AMG-157 is a monoclonal immunoglobulin IgG2 that is a thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) inhibitor. TSLP is a cytokine thought to have a major role in allergic inflammation.
- The product candidate is one of five mAbs from Amgen's inflammation portfolio that it is developing with AstraZeneca (AZN +2.2%).
May 20, 2014, 7:15 AM
May 19, 2014, 12:45 PM
May 19, 2014, 9:13 AM
May 19, 2014, 7:08 AM
- Leading AstraZeneca (AZN) shareholders aren't happy about the company's rebuffing of Pfizer's latest £69B ($117B) offer.
- Jupiter Fund Management, a top-30 shareholder in the U.K. pharmaceuticals provider, is "disappointed" that the rejection was so categorical. "They should have at least engaged in a constructive conversation...to assess the opportunities that a combined entity could bring," Jupiter says.
- A fund manager at a top 10 investor says: "We do not think the Astra management have done a good job on behalf of shareholders."
- AstraZeneca's shares are -12% premarket.
- Previous coverage
May 19, 2014, 3:27 AM
- As tipped, AstraZeneca (AZN) has rejected Pfizer's (PFE) final proposal of £55 a share, or £69B ($117B), saying that the bid "falls short of AstraZeneca’s value as an independent science-led company."
- AstraZeneca told Pfizer on Friday that any offer would have to be over 10% above the latter's previous bid of £53.50.
- The U.K. company said that while Pfizer's pursuit has been driven by cost and tax savings, it "has failed to make a compelling strategic, business or value case."
- Pfizer's final proposal "would present significant risks for shareholders, while also having serious consequences for the company, our employees and the life-sciences sector in the U.K., Sweden and the U.S.," AstraZeneca said.
- AstraZeneca's shares are -13.2% at £41.87 in London. (PR)
May 19, 2014, 1:37 AM
- AstraZeneca (AZN) is preparing to turn down Pfizer's (PFE) increased takeover offer of £69B ($117B), the FT reports, saying that the U.K. drugs company still feels that it's being undervalued.
- Pfizer, which has said it won't go hostile, has until Monday next week to convince AstraZeneca to enter negotiations. Under British takeover rules, Pfizer would then be barred from making another offer for six months if AstraZeneca refuses. (Previous)
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