In the general news, in Europe, more terrorist threats were made against the Sochi Olympics coming up in February, and the President of France was caught having an affair. In the U.S., President Obama gave a speech addressing slight changes to the NSA spying program. Lastly, the stock markets finished the week down, and negative for the year.
In healthcare business news, the JP Morgan healthcare conference dominated, as usual. RNAi platform technology was a big theme, as Sanofi’s Genzyme unit acquired Alnylam’s (ALNY) platform. Few companies pre-announced Q4 earnings, indicating that bad news might be on the way for earnings season. One exception was Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) that released good Q4 numbers and 2014 guidance. Also, Actavis (ACT) joined other companies in exiting the China market due to the new onerous regulatory climate, in the wake of arrests for bribery, etc. In M&A, The Carlyle Group will buy JNJ‘s in vitro diagnostics business for $4.15 Billion. Lastly, Forest Labs (FRX) acquired Aptalis for $3 Billion.
On the data front, it was quiet. European cardiologists published a study on the significant amount of radiation delivered to patients from procedures.
From the FDA, Medtronic’s (MDT) CoreValve was approved sooner than expected, sending shares of Edwards (EW) down. Chelsea (CHTP) spiked 100% on a surprise panel recommendation of approval for HTN drug droxidopa. Merck’s (MRK) Voraxapar also won a thumbs up from a panel, and Glaxo’s (GSK) Tafinlar to treat lung cancer was awarded “Breakthrough” pathway.