Biotech Stock News: A Weekly Analysis of Major Biotech Stocks

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Mergers and acquisitions were back in the news last week with Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL) being the target this time around. The company, which is looking to acquire QLT Inc (QLTI), received a proposal from Endo International plc (ENDP). Other updates last week include the usual regulatory and pipeline-related news. Gilead remained in the news thanks yet again to its hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, Sovaldi. Meanwhile, Amgen continues to progress with its pipeline.

Auxilium’s shares shot up 44.9% on an acquisition proposal from Endo International plc. Endo is looking to acquire Auxilium in a cash and stock transaction valued at $2.2 billion. Auxilium, however, said that Endo’s proposal significantly undervalues the company. Auxilium will be going ahead with its planned acquisition of QLT Inc. Endo will most likely come back with a higher offer.

Gilead saw its shares declining slightly on news that its experimental cancer treatment, simtuzumab, failed to achieve the primary endpoint in a mid-stage study. The study was conducted in treatment-naïve advanced pancreatic cancer patients. Shares were also impacted by a report from the CVS Health Research Institute which indicated a plateau and actual downward trend in Sovaldi utilization over the last several months.

Biotech Stock News

Regeneron (REGN) continues to progress with its blockbuster eye drug, Eylea. The company continues to expand the product label successfully with the latest label expansion being approved in Japan. Eylea can now be used in Japan for myopic choroidal neovascularization. Earlier, Regeneron had announced Breakthrough Therapy designation for Eylea in the U.S. for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy in patients with diabetic macular edema.

Another company that continues to progress with its pipeline is Amgen (AMGN). Amgen, which has filed for regulatory approval of quite a few candidates (talimogene laherparepvec – cancer, ivabradine – chronic heart failure, evolocumab – high cholesterol) over the last few months, is now seeking approval for another experimental cancer treatment – blinatumomab.

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The FDA lifted its clinical hold on another study being conducted with Halozyme’s PEGPH20. With the clinical hold being lifted, patient enrollment in the phase Ib/II study will resume .

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