The Weekly Summary

YellenMarch 17th – March 23rd

In the general news, Russia continue to aggress toward sovereign Ukraine after it annexed southern Crimea. The US and Europe responded with economic sanctions. In the U.S., Fed Chair Yellen gave her first news conference, and spooked the markets with talk of raising interest rates. In sports, Northwestern University football players filed a class action against the NCAA claiming that they are not students, but rather employees, and want to start a union.

In healthcare business news, small deals were announced, such as Bristol-Myers (BMY) partnering with Five Prime for immunotherapies, and Elbit Imaging (EMITF) acquiring Gamida Cell. In earnings, BGMD shares spiked on good numbers. Elsewhere, WellPoint (WLP) joined the bandwagon griping that Gilead (GILD) Sovaldi prices are too high.

On the data front, a study indicates that colon cancer rates have dropped by 30% since the year 2000. Related, Exact Science’s (EXAS) stool test for cancer mutations met endpoints. Intercept’s (ICPT) obeticholic acid (OCA) to treat primary biliary cirrhosis met endpoints, but the stock sold off over safety concerns. Amgen (AMGN) met endpoints with Evolocumab (AMG 145) in patients With homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. Lastly, Glaxo’s (GSK) MAGE-A3 therapeutic vaccine did not help patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

From the FDA, Geron (GERN) stock rebounded 40% when the clinical trial hold that clobbered the stock was announced as “temporary”. Paladin Therapeutics’ Impavido was approved to treat the tropical disease leishmaniasis, as was Celgene’s (CELG) apremilast to treat psoriatic arthritis.

In other regulatory news, congress spooked the entire biotech sector by announcing hearings about GILD‘s high prices for HIV and HCV drugs. Also, an SEC probe hurt Galena Biopharma (GALE) stock.

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