In the general news, South Africa’s leader and icon, Nelson Mandela, died of natural causes at the age of 95. In the U.S., President Obama declared the ACA health insurance exchange website to be repaired, mostly. In the economy, unemployment continues to decline, leading many to expect the Fed to taper the bond buying “QE”.
In healthcare business news, Forest Labs (FRX) announced $500 Million in cuts and layoffs. JNJ was dealt bad press on the Daily Show over the bribery charges related to Risperdal. Also, OncoMed (OMED) stock doubled when a deal was struck with Celgene (CELG) to develop six anti-cancer stem cell therapies.
On the data front, the meetings season picked up with ASH the venue for good data on JNJ and Pharmacyclics (PCYC) leukemia drug ibrutinib. AbbVie (ABBV) also posted data on its leukemia drug, ABT-199. In the failed category, LLY‘s depression drug, edivoxetine, failed. Also, Lexicon’s (LXRX) irritable bowel syndrome drug, LX1033, failed.
From the FDA, presents were handed out galore. For the “Nice” companies, Gilead’s (GILD) Sovaldi was approved as the first HCV drug not requiring interferon, and was priced at $1,000 per pill. Also, Auxilium’s (AUXL) Xiaflex was approved to treat Peyronie’s curvature of the penis (The DTC TV ads should be interesting). In the “Naughty” category, components of the Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) robotic surgery systems were recalled. Biogen Idec’s (BIIB) hemophilia B drug, Alprolix, was delayed.
Over at CMS, Scrooge came to Myriad (MYGN) by lowering reimbursement on the BRCA breast cancer tests, and also to Edwards (EW) by lowering rates for TAVI.