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Apr 24, 2014

PerkinElmer first-quarter profit tops Wall Street view

April 24 (Reuters) – Scientific instruments maker
PerkinElmer Inc reported a higher-than-expected
quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by increased demand for its
medical diagnostics products and continued double-digit growth
in China.

“We’re off to a solid start. I think we’re going to see
accelerating growth this year and that will translate into a
strong bottom line,” PerkinElmer Chief Executive Robert Friel
said in a telephone interview.

Apr 24, 2014

Zimmer to buy Biomet for $13.35 billion in latest consolidation

By Bill Berkrot and Esha Dey

(Reuters) – Zimmer Holdings Inc (ZMH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday it would buy rival orthopedic products maker Biomet Inc LVBHAB.UL for more than $13 billion, the latest deal in a wave of consolidations in the healthcare industry.

Investors gave a resounding thumbs up to the announcement, sending Zimmer shares up more than 18 percent on expectations the larger scale will help it navigate stiffer pricing pressure on medical devices from hospitals and insurers. The deal is expected to take Zimmer from the fourth-largest seller of orthopedics products to No. 2, behind Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Apr 23, 2014

Biogen raises outlook as new MS drug again tops forecasts

April 23 (Reuters) – Biogen Idec Inc on Wednesday
raised its full-year earnings and revenue forecasts as
first-quarter sales of its new Tecfidera multiple sclerosis drug
extended a run of eclipsing Wall Street sales expectations.

Tecfidera racked up sales of $506 million for the quarter,
easily topping analysts’ expectations of about $440 million and
the previous quarter’s sales of $398 million.

Apr 22, 2014

Amgen profit falls on inventory draw downs; sales disappoint

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Amgen Inc (AMGN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday reported lower-than-expected first quarter profit as sales of several key products fell short of Wall Street estimates, with its big-selling rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel particularly hard hit by inventory stocking by wholesalers late last year.

The company left its full year forecast unchanged, disappointing some investors who have become accustomed to Amgen raising its outlook as the year progresses, and its shares fell nearly 3 percent in extended trading.

Apr 22, 2014

Valeant, Ackman offer to buy Botox maker Allergan for $47 billion

By Rod Nickel and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said on Tuesday it and activist investor Bill Ackman made an unsolicited $47 billion bid to buy Botox maker Allergan Inc as it seeks to become one of the world’s five biggest drug companies.

The offer, if successful, would bring together two mid-sized pharmaceutical companies with expertise in skin care and eye care products, and is highly unusual as activist investors typically buy stakes and then agitate for strategic change.

Apr 18, 2014

Exclusive: Biogen prices hemophilia drug on par with older therapies

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Biogen Idec Inc is pricing its newly-approved long-acting hemophilia drug to cost U.S. patients, and insurers, about the same per year as older, less convenient therapies whose price can reach about $300,000 annually.

The move could pressure rivals such as Pfizer Inc to lower prices for existing hemophilia treatments, which provide patients with life-saving infusions of a blood clotting agent, according to doctors and industry analysts.

Apr 15, 2014

U.S. healthcare usage and spending resumes rise in 2013: report

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a leading healthcare information company.

Spending on medicines rose 3.2 percent in the United States last year to $329.2 billion. While that was far less than the double-digit increases seen in previous decades, it was a rebound from a 1 percent decline in 2012, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc. found.

Apr 12, 2014

Intercept’s liver disease drug proves highly effective in study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – A drug being developed by Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc led to significant improvement in signs of a rare liver disease that primarily affects middle-aged women, likely reducing the risk of need for liver transplant and of death, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial presented on Saturday.

Nearly half the patients suffering from primary biliary cirrhosis who received the drug, obeticholic acid, achieved the primary goals of the study, compared with 10 percent for those who received a placebo, researchers said.

Apr 10, 2014

Bristol-Myers hepatitis C treatment cures up to 90 percent: study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – A combination of two anti-viral drugs developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co cured 90 percent of previously untreated hepatitis C patients and 82 percent of those who failed to respond to prior therapy, according to results from a late stage study presented on Thursday.

The Phase III trial of more than 700 patients called Hallmark-Dual tested a combination of Bristol’s daclatasvir and asunaprevir over 24 weeks of therapy in patients with genotype 1b of the virus that causes progressive liver disease.

Apr 10, 2014

Merck hepatitis C drugs shine in easier to treat patients -study

April 10 (Reuters) – A two-drug combination being tested by
Merck & Co to treat hepatitis C cured 98 percent of
previously untreated patients without cirrhosis in a midstage
clinical trial, providing the latest evidence that the U.S.
drugmaker will be highly competitive in the fast evolving field.

Results of the study called C-Worthy were presented on
Thursday at the annual meeting of the European Association for
the Study of the Liver (EASL) in London. Researchers are due on
Friday to present results of how the Merck pills fared in more
difficult to treat patients, such has those who failed to be
helped by prior treatments and those with more advanced liver
disease.

    • About Bill

      "Based in New York, I primarily cover the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors as well as other publicly traded companies involved in health care. Previously covered a wide range of sports for Reuters."
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