In the general news, in what might have been the largest storm to hit planet earth in history, a giant typhoon devastated the Philippines. In the U.S., the elections were notable only for the strength of a Tea Party gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, riding the wave of unpopularity of Obamacare. In Wall Street, an official plea bargain was announced for SAC Capital, which is yet to be finalized due to protestors. Also, the Twitter IPO went off without snafus, as the NYSE, not NASDAQ, got the deal.
In healthcare business news, earnings season wound down, with HeartWare (HTWR) spiking 20% on good numbers. Discovery Labs (DSCO) launched Surfactant. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) announced cancellations of R&D for HCV, diabetes, and neurological disease efforts. Novartis (NVS) is the latest to make more layoffs. Lastly, JNJ will pay a modest $2.2 Billion to settle numerous federal investigations, including paying kickbacks to market Risperdal (the whistleblower will receive $167 million).
On the data front, the AASLD was featured several important presentations on new all-oral HCV drugs, including programs for ABBV, MRK, BMY, JNJ and GILD (see our full discussion with UCLA’s Dr. Saab). Shire’s (SHPG) Vyvanse met endpoints in a trial for binge eating. Curis’s (CRIS) cancer drug CUDC-427 trial was halted after a death. Lastly, the dangers of “Low-T” testosterone medications (Androgel by ABBV and Axiron by LLY), made by were highlighted in the mainstream press when a report showed a 30% increase in the risk heart disease.
From the FDA, there were no new approval or other regulatory actions noteworthy.