Bill's Feed
May 14, 2014

Roche immuno-oncology drug shows promise against bladder cancer

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Roche Holding’s drug from a closely watched new class of cancer immunotherapies showed promise against advanced bladder cancer in a small, early stage study, according to data released on Wednesday.

Roche has previously released data from studies testing the drug, MPDL3280A, against advanced melanoma, lung and kidney cancers, helping to generate excitement among physicians and healthcare investors for the class of medicines that help the body’s immune system fight disease. The study was the first to test this type of immunotherapy against advanced bladder cancer.

May 14, 2014

Bristol, Merck, Roche immune therapies are cancer meeting darlings

May 14 (Reuters) – When the world’s leading cancer doctors
meet in Chicago next month, new treatments from Merck & Co,
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Roche Holding AG that help the
immune system fight disease are expected to capture much of the
spotlight.

The drugs, known as anti-PD-1 or anti-PDL1 therapies, are
biotech medicines that work by blocking a tumor’s ability to
camouflage itself, thereby allowing T cells in the immune system
to recognize and attack the cancer.

May 12, 2014

Biogen, Sobi pledge hemophilia drug donation in developing world

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Biogen Idec Inc and partner Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB on Monday said they will donate hemophilia drugs for use in developing nations in quantities large enough to treat tens of thousands of patients over the next decade.

The potentially life-saving clotting factor medicines would be intended for use in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, where three quarters of the world’s 400,000 hemophilia sufferers have limited or no access to such drugs, and where most fail to live into adulthood as a result.

Apr 29, 2014

Express Scripts first-quarter profit falls, lowers 2014 forecast

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday posted a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit and decreased its earnings forecast for full-year 2014, saying adjusted prescription volume would be less than it had anticipated.

Express Scripts shares fell 6 percent in extended trading.

For 2014, Express now expects adjusted earnings of $4.82 to $4.94 per share, down from its prior forecast of $4.88 to $5 per share. Analysts on average are looking for $4.94 a share.

Apr 29, 2014

Express Scripts 1st-qtr profit falls, lowers 2014 forecast

April 29 (Reuters) – Pharmacy benefit manager Express
Scripts Holding Co on Tuesday posted a
lower-than-expected first-quarter profit and decreased its
earnings forecast for full-year 2014, saying adjusted
prescription volume would be less than it had anticipated.

Express Scripts shares fell 6 percent in extended trading.

For 2014, Express now expects adjusted earnings of $4.82 to
$4.94 per share, down from its prior forecast of $4.88 to $5 per
share. Analysts on average are looking for $4.94 a share.

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.

    • 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."
    • Follow Bill