The Weekly Summary

Obama-under-umbrellaMay 13th – May 19th  

In general news, Europe is entering a double-dip economic depression. In the U.S., triple scandals have paralyzed the Obama administration, ranging from the IRS targeting conservatives, to spying on AP journalists, to the growing Benghazi cover-up. In the rare good news category, the budget deficit is much smaller than last forecast, and the stock market bubble continues.

In healthcare mainstream news, actress Angelina Jolie underwent an elective double mastectomy because of her genetic risks. An abortion doctor in Philadelphia was found guilty of several counts of murder. The psychiatry bible DSM-5 was released. Lastly, former nurse, Marilyn Tavenner, became the first actual Director of CMS since 2006.

In healthcare business news, Ranbaxy shares fell after a $500 Million fine related to unsafe drug manufacturing and pleaded guilty to felony charges (but no human was arrested). Roche is exploring sales of diabetes blood glucose device unit. Aegerion (AEGR) stock was up 33% on hopes for Juxtapid, and MannKind (MNKD), left for dead, rebounded on rumors that Afrezza (inhaled insulin) might be approved and partnered.

On the data front, ASCO abstracts dominated the news. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Yervoy/anti-PD1 combo data were in-line with expectations in melanoma patients. Roche’s next-generation Rituxan (to fend off patent expiration) posted good data in CLL. Tesaro (TSRO) stock appreciated on good data for niraparib for breast and ovarian tumors. Halozyme (HALO) was up on ASCO data for pancreatic cancer drug PEGPH20. Puma (PBYI) stock spiked when data on Glaxo’s (GSK) drug Tykerb, that would compete with Puma’s neratinib, was disappointing. Sanofi (SNY) reported good data on JAK2 to treat myelofibrosis. Lastly, Gilead’s (GILD) idelalisib was effective for leukemia in Phase 1, as the company tries to enter oncology markets.

From the FDA, several new indications for existing drugs were approved, including Tarceva (Roche), and Simponi (JNJ). A Roche diagnostic test was approved for gene mutations in lung cancer, as a companion to Tarceva. Bayer’s Xofigo was approved for prostate cancer. Lastly, JNJ will stop all sales of metal-on-metal hip implants.

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