In the general news, France was attacked by two different terrorist groups, leading to hostage standoffs, and the Prime Minister declared France at war against radical Islam. In the U.S., December jobs data remained strong, adding 252,000 jobs. Also, the new Republican leadership in congress acted to change the definition off full-time employee in the ACA law to 40-hours per week.
In healthcare business, the news flow was heavy. CVS Health (CVS) PBM’s selected Gilead’s (GILD) Sovaldi as the preferred HCV drug, which comes right after news that Express Scripts (ESRX) chose rival AbbVie cocktail Viekira Pak due to its lower price. Sanofi paid MannKind (MNKD) another milestone related to Afrezza inhaled insulin, and Agenus (AGEN) partnered with Incyte (INCY) to develop novel immuno-oncology antibodies.
On the data front, the news releases from small-cap biotech timed for the Goldman Sachs healthcare conference flooded forth. Bind Therapeutics’ (BIND) trial data of BIND-014 for lung cancer sent shares up 30%. Sanofi and Regeneron (REGN) posted good data on anti-PCSK9 cholesterol drug alirocumab. AbbVie (ABBV) and Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) posted good data on endometriosis drug elagolix. Lastly, Biogen Idec (BIIB) posted questionably good data on drug Anti-LINGO-1 treat acute optic nerve damage.
From the FDA, Medtronic’s (MDT) Admiral peripheral drug coated balloon was approved. A panel voted to approved a “generic” biosimilar large molecule drug Neupogen, opening the door for cheaper Enbrel, Humira, Aranesp, etc. Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo received approval for blood thinner Savaysa (edoxaban tablets). Private company Suneva received approval for a dermal filler Bellafill to treat acne scars. Impax’s (IPXL) Parkinson’s drug Rytary received approval. Lastly, Cyberonics (CYBX), surprisingly still in business, is still trying to to achieve approval for the depression device that connects to the vagus nerve in the neck, to no avail.