Seeking Alpha's Biotech Weekly: Celgene Check-Up, Is Gilead The New Apple?, And More

by: SA Editor Mike Taylor, CFA


Every Friday, SA highlights some of the week's insightful pieces of opinion and analysis as well as noteworthy Breaking News stories.

This week, contributors took a look at Gilead, Celgene, InVivo Therapeutics, and others in the biotech/healthcare sector.

What should Seeking Alpha be tracking in the biotech world? Leave a comment to let us know. Or better yet, submit an article of your own.

Every Friday, Seeking Alpha's Biotech Weekly highlights the editors' picks of the week's Seeking Alpha analysis, as well as a review of the top Breaking News stories. This week, contributors geared up for earnings season, highlighted several small-cap opportunities, and continued to ponder Gilead's valuation. Read on for a quick glance at the week's news and commentary.

Seeking Alpha Analysis You Should Check Out

Here are some of the top breaking news items of the week.

Phase 3 study stopped early after Bristol-Myers' Opdivo hits efficacy endpoint

  • Based on an assessment by the independent Data Monitoring Committee, a Phase 3 clinical trial, CheckMate-057, evaluating Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE:BMY) Opdivo (nivolumab) versus docetaxel was stopped early after the study met its primary efficacy endpoint. Patients with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer who received Opdivo demonstrated superior overall survival compared to those who received docetaxel. The company intends to share the data with health authorities soon.

Celgene's Otezla successful in Phase 2 label expansion study

  • A Phase 2 clinical trial, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that Celgene's (CELG -1.4%) Otezla (apremilast) was effective in reducing the mean number of oral ulcers in patients with Behcet's disease, a rare, chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by recurrent oral and genital ulcers. Joint inflammation and recurrent skin and eye lesions may also occur.

Teva reportedly weighing bid for Mylan; shares jump

  • The WSJ and Bloomberg report Teva (TEVA) is weighing a bid to acquire fellow generic drug giant Mylan (MYL), while adding no decision has been made yet. Shaes of both companies have spiked higher.

AstraZeneca experimental cancer drug extends PFS in treatment-resistant form of lung cancer

  • Based on an interim analysis of its ongoing AURA study, AstraZeneca's (NYSE:AZN) experimental cancer drug, AZD9291, demonstrated a median progression-free survival (NYSE:PFS) of 13.5 months in patients with advanced epidermal growth factor receptor mutation positive (EGFR+) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who also have the T790M mutation. T790M-positive NSCLC patients with disease progression do not have effective treatment options. Management is usually limited to chemotherapy or re-challenge with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) like erlotinib (Roche's Tarceva) or gefitinib (AZN's Iressa).

U.S. Patent Office declares an interference between Forward Pharma and Biogen over dimethyl fumarate

  • The USPTO's Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) declares an interference between Forward Pharma's (FWP -1.3%) patent application 11/576,871 and Biogen's (BIIB -0.6%) issued patent No. 8,399,514. Both contain claims to methods of treating multiple sclerosis with 480 mg of dimethyl fumarate per day. Biogen's pertains to Tecfidera, which generated $2.9B in sales the past four quarters while Forward's pertains to its lead product candidate, FP187.

Baxter and Coherus update collaboration agreement for Enbrel biosimilar

  • Coherus BioSciences (CHRS -3%) and Baxter International (BAX +0.4%) amend their August 2013 collaboration agreement pertaining to the development and commercialization of CHS-0214, a biosimilar to Amgen's (AMGN +1%) Enbrel(etanercept). Certain milestones and funding obligations have been revised and the partnership has been expanded to include select pre-commercialization activities. The revised milestone payments may increase Baxter's funding obligations by ~$12M. It also has agreed to buy Coherus common stock in a private transaction.

GW Pharma's Epidiolex reduced epileptic seizures up to 52% ; Shares up 10%

  • After the close yesterday, the American Academy of Neurology released data on GW Pharmaceuticals' (GWPH +10.1%) investigational Epidiolex (cannabidiol) from an FDA-authorized "expanded access" program for children and young adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy who have exhausted available treatment options. The company will present the full data during a poster session on April 22.

IBM buys health tech startups, launches Watson Health, expands Apple deal

  • Looking to grab a bigger chunk of a burgeoning healthcare analytics market by offering more industry-specific solutions, IBM is buying Phytel, a provider of cloud-based patient data aggregation/analysis software, and Explorys, provider of a massive clinical database (said to consist of 315B datapoints) and a slew of analytics apps that run on top of them. Terms are undisclosed.

Other stories of note:

See something here that deserves further analysis? We are always looking for new contributors and submissions in the biotech/healthcare space. You can submit an article here to become a contributor. Joining Seeking Alpha's community of writers has substantial benefits:

  • Vet your ideas among Seeking Alpha's community of investors and commentators.

  • Article headlines appear on partner sites, helping to reach a wide audience.

  • Premium articles earn $35 upon publication and $10 per 1,000 page views.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Editor's Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.