The Weekly Summary

July 23rd – July 29th                                 2018

In general news, North Korea repatriated the remains of more than 50 soldiers killed during the Korean War. The European Union leader met with President Trump and agreed to concessions that seemed to avert a trade war. In the U.S., the GDP grew 4.1% in Q2, putting the yearly growth on target to be the strongest in decades. Finally, the week of earnings saw the social media and Silicon Valley stalwarts implode as Facebook lost $120 B in value in one day, followed by Twitter and CBS. Netflix lost value earlier in the month as TechLash hit the bottom line.

In healthcare business news, earnings season slowed as Edwards (EW) continues to struggle with TAVR growth. Google’s ultimate invasion of privacy effort, their 23andMe DNA collection company, formed a partnership with Glaxo (GSK) to sell users’ DNA for drug research and marketing. Biogen (BIIB) partnered with private AliveGen to acquire muscle building drugs related to the myostatin pathway. Finally, private equity group Apollo acquired specialty surgery hospital chain LifePoint (LPNT).

On the data front, Biogen and private company Eisai posted promising data on a drug to treat Alzheimer’s. However, shares of Eisai fell when savvy analysts were disappointed with the actual results. Targeting beta-amyloid plaque, as these drugs do, is increasingly seeming to be a futile approach to preventing Alzheimer’s.

From the FDA, AbbVie (ABBV) receive approval for Orilissa (elagolix, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist) to treat endometriosis pain.

In other regulatory news, a new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, was confirmed by the senate.

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