May. 19, 2014, 4:44 AM
- Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to institute a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($25) an hour, which would have been the highest in the world. Over 76% of voters cast a "no" ballot.
- "It's a strong sign to Switzerland as a center of employment," Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said. "Accepting the initiative would have led to job cuts in economically weak, rural areas."
- Major corporations that could have been affected by a "Yes" vote include UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Roche (RHHBY), Novartis (NVS), ABB (ABB), Glencore Xstrata (GLCNF) and Nestle (NSRGY).
- Switzerland's SMI index is -0.8%, while the USD-CHF is -0.1% at 0.8914 francs.
- ETFs: FXF, EWL, FSZ
May. 18, 2014, 2:29 AM
- The Swiss are going to the polls today to vote on whether to approve a minimum wage of 22 francs ($25) an hour, which would be the highest in the world.
- The measure would affect the one-in-ten workers who earn below the 4,000 francs that the initiative stipulates.
- Businesses are against the union-backed proposal, saying it would force more people into part-time jobs and increase Switzerland's 3.2% unemployment rate. Polls show 64% of voters are against the initiative.
- Still, major corporations that could be affected include UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS), Roche (RHHBY), Novartis (NVS), ABB (ABB), Glencore Xstrata (GLCNF) and Nestle (NSRGY).
- The referendum is the latest nationwide ballot relating to business. In March last year, voters authorized giving shareholders more say over executive pay but rejected a measure in November to cap management salaries.
- The Swiss are also voting today over whether to spend 3.1B francs on 22 new Saab (SAABF) fighter jets.
- ETFs: FXF, EWL, FSZ
May. 15, 2014, 9:10 AM
May. 12, 2014, 9:02 AM
- Inovio (INO) revenues: $1.4M vs $14.3K; net loss: ($108M) (-21.3%); loss/share: ($0.05) (+16.7%); quick assets (ex-A/R): $116.8M (+122.1%).
- Capital position should be sufficient to fund the firm's operations through 2017.
- Management expects to report data on the Phase 2 trial for VGX-3100, SynCon immunotherapy against HPV-caused cancers and pre-cancers delivered with the Cellectra electroporation device by mid-year.
- INO-5150 cancer immunotherapy Phase 1 trial to be launched in Q3. This will trigger a milestone payment from partner Roche (RHHBY).
Apr. 28, 2014, 9:41 AM
- The European Commission approves Roche's (RHHBY) rheumatoid arthritis drug RoACTEMRA (tocilizumab) for subcutaneous administration.
- It is the first anti IL-6 receptor biologic available in both subcutaneous and intravenous formulations for both monotherapy and combination therapy with methotrexate.
- Japan and the U.S. approved the formulation last year.
Apr. 24, 2014, 4:04 PM
- The FDA approves Roche's (RHHBY -0.2%) cobas HPV molecular diagnostic assay for use as a stand-alone screening test for HPV. Previously, the product was cleared only for use in conjunction with or as a follow-on diagnostic to a PAP test for women at least 30 years old.
- The test detects HPV types 16 and 18 which are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer. It detects 12 other high risk types in a pooled result.
- The clinical trial also showed that utilizing the automated cobas HPV test as a first-line diagnostic and then reflexing to a cervical cytology (PAP) test would enable clinicians to detect more disease and eliminate unnecessary follow-up procedures.
Apr. 16, 2014, 12:41 PM
- Vials from nine batches of Roche's (RHHBY) top-selling drug allegedly stolen in Italy have been tampered with and reintroduced into the European market. Adulterated vials have turned up in Germany, Finland and the U.K. Some do not contain any trastuzumab at all while others have been diluted.
- There are no reports of harm to patients from the fakes. The company is recalling the suspect vials as a precaution.
- Herceptin sales last year were $6.9B.
Apr. 14, 2014, 2:29 PM
- The European Medicines Agency concludes its inquiry into Roche's (RHHBY +2%) drug safety reporting. The firm allegedly under-reported adverse events for 19 of its drugs.
- It sends its findings to the European Commission for follow through.
- The EC will decide if the matter should be pursued and if financial penalties should be imposed.
- Under "pharmacovigilance" obligations per EU rules, the company could be liable for fines up to 5% of its annual turnover or $14.6B although a penalty this severe is unlikely.
Apr. 10, 2014, 3:17 PM
- London's High Court rules Roche's (RHHBY -0.7%) 115 and 455 Herceptin patents are invalid paving the way for Hospira (HSP -3.5%) to market a biosimilar version in Britain.
- Hospira wants to sell its offering of trastuzumab after Herceptin's core patent expires on July 28.
- Although Britain comprises a small part of Herceptin's $6.9B sales, Roche is carefully assessing its options in light of a possible domino effect in other European countries.
Apr. 10, 2014, 9:32 AM
- In its recent healthcare budget, French lawmakers introduced a measure that will allow pharmacists to substitute generics for prescribed brand-name biotech drugs. This has rattled the industry since France is Europe's #2 pharmaceutical market behind Germany.
- A decree must be passed before it becomes effective.
- France is the first European country to pursue biologic substitution. Big Pharma fears a domino effect if it is successful despite the heretofore slow uptake of biosimilars.
- The initiative applies only to patients starting a new course of treatment. Doctors will still retain the ability to demand the branded product.
- Unsurprisingly, Big Pharma is upset at not being consulted prior to the law's passage.
- Some analysts believe France could save up to $1.4B by 2020 by using generics.
- Substitutions only apply to retail pharmacies. 40% of biotech prescriptions are filled in hospitals.
- (RHHBY) (AMGN) (NVS) (SNY) (LLY) (PFE) (BMY) (MRK) (GSK) (JNJ) (HSP) (ABBV) (AZN) (BAYRY)
Apr. 10, 2014, 7:17 AM
- Scientists from the research network the Cochrane Review doubt the wisdom of governments spending billions stockpiling Roche's (RHHBY) flu drug Tamiflu. Based on their review of the data, they conclude the only benefit is a half day reduction in flu symptoms.
- There is no good evidence that the drug reduces hospital admissions or lessens complications from the disease or can prevent a pandemic.
- Predictably, Roche disputes the claims saying the quality and integrity of its data speaks for itself. Complicating matters is the company's refusal to allow the group unlimited access to its Tamiflu data.
- The U.S. government has spent more than $1.3B stockpiling antivirals including Tamiflu. The British government has spent $703M on 40M Tamiflu doses.
- The European Medicines Agency states that it reviewed all 20 studies in its approval process and Cochran's work did not raise any new concerns over the drug's effectiveness.
- It appears that the only to resolve the dispute is for a global flu pandemic to occur to see if Tamiflu works as claimed.
Apr. 9, 2014, 7:34 AM
- Roche (RHHBY) and Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation renew their partnership with a 10-year contract to jointly develop and manufacture next generation instruments and workflow automation solutions for medical laboratories. The firms have been working together for 36 years.
- One of the primary strategic thrusts will be modular lab solutions.
Apr. 7, 2014, 11:31 AM
- Phase 2 clinical trial results show Puma Biotech's (PBYI +1.9%) cancer drug is more effective than Roche's (RHHBY -0.7%) in HER2 breast cancer patients when given before surgery.
- In the 193-patient trial, 39% of HER2 patients given the combination of neratinib and chemotherapy achieved a pathologic complete response compared to 23% who received Herceptin and chemo.
- Puma's drug is a pill whereas Roche's is given by infusion.
- ~25% of breast cancer cases are HER2 positive.
Apr. 7, 2014, 7:08 AM
- Roche (RHHBF) has acquired privately held IQuum for up to $450M in a deal that will boost the Swiss company's molecular diagnostics business.
- Roche will pay $275M up front and $175M in product-related milestones.
- IQuum says its "lab-in-a-tube technology" enables "non-specialized personnel to perform more sophisticated biological sample testing in any setting." (PR)
Apr. 2, 2014, 11:30 AM
- Last summer's dust up between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Chinese regulators over accusations of corruption has quietly subsided. Drug firms perceive the China market has returned to its "business as unusual."
- Glaxo responded to the matter by replacing its sales targets for individual reps with broader performance-rating criteria such as improved patient care.
- Although far from assured, other members of Big Pharma don't expect the authorities to rattle their sabers again any time soon.
- Analysts expect the nation's drug market to continue its annual 15% growth rate and emerge as the globe's second largest pharmaceutical market behind the U.S. by 2016 on the basis of $165B in sales.
- (SNY) (LLY) (NVS) (AZN) (PFE) (BMY) (JNJ) (BAYRY) (RHHBY) (NVO) (ABBV)
Mar. 28, 2014, 1:54 PM
- The Federal Trade Commission wants to extract least $1B from pharmaceutical companies for their alleged efforts to thwart the entry of cheaper generic drugs by paying generic makers to delay introducing their offerings.
- Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FTC may legally challenge the deals.
- (NVO) (PFE) (SNY) (ABBV) (JNJ) (RHHBY) (GSK) (AZN) (BMY)
RHHBY vs. ETF Alternatives
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world?s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and... More
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