Posts Tagged ‘pharmaceuticals’

Fever to Harness RNA Interference Cools – NYTimes.com

Drugmakers’ Fever for the Power of RNA Interference Has Cooled

By ANDREW POLLACK

When RNA interference first electrified biologists several years ago, pharmaceutical companies rushed to harness what looked like a swift and surefire way to develop new drugs.

Billions of dollars later, however, some of those same companies are now losing their enthusiasm for RNAi, as it is called. And that is raising doubts about how quickly, if at all, the Nobel Prize-winning technique for turning off specific genes will yield the promised bounty of innovative medicines.

The biggest bombshell was dropped in November, when the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche said it would end its efforts to develop drugs using RNAi, after it had invested half a billion dollars in the field over four years.

Just last week, as part of a broader research cutback, Pfizer decided to shut down its 100-person unit working on RNAi and related technologies. Abbott Laboratories has also quietly shelved its RNAi drug development work.

“In 2005 and 2006, there was a very sudden buildup of expectation that RNAi was going to cure many diseases in a very short time frame,” said Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, vice president for research at Aura Biosciences, a small company pursuing the field. “Some of the hype, I believe, is going away and a more realistic view is setting in.”

The issue is that while drugs working through the RNAi mechanism can indeed shut off genes, it has been difficult to deliver such drugs to the cells where they are needed. At a time when hard-pressed pharmaceutical companies are already scaling back research expenditures, RNAi is losing out to alternatives that seem closer to producing marketable drugs.

“I have no doubt that at a certain point in time RNAi will make it to the market,” said Klaus Stein, head of therapeutic modalities for Roche. But he added, “When we looked into this, we came to the conclusion that we have opportunities that have higher priorities.”

More here: Fever to Harness RNA Interference Cools – NYTimes.com.


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Something to Love about GSK

Something to Love about GSK

Courtesy of Pharmboy

Visit Pharmboy here for his previous articles on pharm/biotech stocks and chapters in his TA book. 

UK-based GlaxoSmithKline was ranked as the world’s fourth largest player in 2009 (behind US-based Pfizer, France-based Sanofi-Aventis and Switzerland-based Novartis) based on prescription pharma sales. The company was founded in 2000 via the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham and is headquartered in Brentford, London, UK.  I wrote about GSK in my first PSW write-up in 2009.

In terms of its therapeutic focus, GSK owes its market-leading position in the global respiratory market to the Glaxo Laboratories legacy.  Over 30 years ago, Glaxo launched Ventolin for the treatment of asthma and developed and launched Serevent and Flixotide in 1990.  A combination of these two compounds—sold under the brand names Seretide/Advair ($7.8B in 2009).  Similarly, GSK’s origins in the CNS market—currently its third largest therapeutic area of focus—can be traced back to the Wellcome and SmithKline scientists.  Other therapeutic areas of importance include infectious disease and virology (vaccines).


 

The merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham created a company with a strong portfolio of blockbuster brands including Seroxat/Paxil (depression),now off patent Seretide/Advair (asthma, COPD) which dominates the respiratory arena, Wellbutrin (depression) now off patent, Augmentin (infections) now off patent, Avandia (diabetes), Imigran/Imitrex (migraine) and Lamictal (epilepsy) now off patent. However, since its creation in 2000, GSK has failed to add to its portfolio with any additional blockbuster drug launches.  Instead, like its rival Pfizer, GSK has been forced to implement cost reductions in the medium term. Sales of Seroxat/Paxil have been eroded by generics (as have Augmentin and Wellbutrin ) in the US market prior to 2011.  In addition, its second largest product Avandia faces declining sales as a result of concerns that have emerged regarding its side-effect profile (e.g., its association with a heightened cardiovascular risk).  Many feel that the company faces pressure from investors to revive its performance. and must turn to M&A activity.  Thusfar, GSK has been reluctant to make such a move. (Gilead for the HIV franchise?) 

What GSK has done instead is sought to in-license product rights in order to boost the sales potential of its portfolio.  Of the eight products launched by GSK since 2000, four have been in-licensed (Lexiva from Vertex, Levitra from Bayer, Boniva from Roche and Vesicare from Astellas). However,


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The Pharma Initiative

Pharmboy discusses Merck, Regeneron, and Vivus and maps out his plans for trading stock and options in these companies. - Ilene 

The Pharma Initiative

Courtesy of Pharmboy

Hola fellow PSW subscribers!  The week is finally over, and the fluctuations in the market is making many of us jittery.  This write up has a few picks for all, one that is conservative, one a bit more risk, and a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants short. 

First, let’s take a look at the pharma & biotech sector in comparison to the entire market.  The Healthcare Spider (XLV) and now the Biotech Spider (XBI) are now under performing the market.  The most logical explanation for this is the passage of the health care bill.  If the reimbursement is less, pharma and its compadres will also collect less.  Many of the companies have already factored in the hit to earnings, so it is known the ramifications going forward.  Drugs will always be needed, as they are one of the scientific advances for extending life (which in turn makes medical care more expensive).  The population is not getting any younger, so economies of scale will kick in and increase revenue, giving incremental increases in profit (if it is a well run company).  So, on to the picks.

Figure 1.  Comparison of XLI & XBI against major market indices.


Merck & Company

Merck & Co. traces its origins to Friedrich Jacob Merck who purchased a drug store in Darmstadt, Germany in 1668; and Emanuel Merck who took over the store several generations later, in 1816. Emanuel and his successors gradually built up a chemical-pharmaceutical factory that produced — in addition to raw materials for pharmaceutical preparations — a multitude of other chemicals.

In 1891, George Merck established his roots in the United States and set up Merck & Co. in NY as the US arm of the family partnership, E. Merck (named for Emanuel Merck), which is now Merck KGaA. Merck & Co. was confiscated in 1917 during World War I and set up as an independent company in the United States. Between the wars and during World War II, the company was led by George W. Merck, who oversaw America’s germ-warfare research at Fort Detrick. 


Figure 2.  2010 Merck stock price. 

Merck has a broad therapeutic focus, with key products historically positioned within the cardiovascular (Zocor, Cozaar/Hyzaar), infectious diseases, endocrine, respiratory


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The Calm Before the Storm – Big Pharma Is Gonna Have Big Problems and Pfizer is the BIGGEST

Second coming of the calm before the storm; fear not, there's time to find shelter. - Ilene 

The Calm Before the Storm – Big Pharma Is Gonna Have Big Problems and Pfizer is the BIGGEST

Courtesy of Pharmboy, member of Phil's Stock World 

This is a brief article of where the pharmaceutical industry has been, and where it could be headed in the near future.  In contrast to past articles where I focused on the pipelines of GSK, LLY, MRK, BMY and ‘biotechs’ GENZ, GILD, and others, this is a summary of the industry.  The overall market continues its grind up and I am gun-shy of its continued direction, but with the passage of the health care bill, biotechs that serve niche markets will be well positioned to see a rise both in stock price and potential M&A activity.  In addition, as noted on Friday, March 19th on the laggers/leaders of the past month or so, Telecom and Healthcare were at the bottom of the pile.  For the review of Big Pharma and some biotech picks at the end, generic companies are excluded from most data (Merck KGaA, Mylan, Teva and Watson).

From 2002 to 2009, the top pharmaceutical companies by sales had growth rates greater than 12% (compounded annually).  Unfortunately, this growth is not sustainable and should move towards flat to nominal growth by 2014.  The growth decline will challenge these companies to seek more profitable routes, including licensing and acquisitions.  Picking the right companies based upon the science is at the forefront of good investing.  Not they will all succeed because the science is sound, but understanding the molecule, target, and the disease helps guide smart decisions.  Good management helps as well!

Let's start with a summary of potential acquirers.  Table 1 is a list of the 15 largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies ranked by healthcare revenue.  Some companies (e.g., Bayer and Johnson) have additional revenue which is not included the sales data.  

Table 1. Top 13 Pharma Companies in Sales (2009) 

Rank

Company

Sales ($M)

Based/Headquartered in

1

Pfizer

50,001

US

2

Hoffmann–La Roche

46,300*

Switzerland

3

Merck & Co.

45,930**

US

4

Novartis


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Generic Drug Makers

Here's another terrific post by Pharmboy, this time discussing Generic Drug Makers. – Ilene

Generic Drug Makers

 

Courtesy of Pharmboy

Coming to the end of a good year, and good riddance for some!  Whilst the market has been irrational for some time, it is not about what we think but rather about what others that have money think.  I have my notions, and here are a few companies that may do well in the New Year with a passed health care reform bill.

I really like the generic market right now. With patents expiring you can literally gauge how much a generic will make based on the patents expiring in the next few months. These generics are the vultures that follow the in a pack of lions.  They have a good way of scavenging for their food and vultures have a distinct relationship with the lions.  They may not come up with the drugs but they are definitely going to make a nice margin from them.  But the competition is fierce these days, and competitors in the generic market include Watson (WPI), Teva (TEVA) , Dr Reddy's Labs (RDY), Hi-Tech Pharmacal (HITK), Par Pharmaceuticals (PRX), and Caraco (CPD).

First up, Mylan Pharmaceuticals (MYL) – I know that Phil has liked Teva in the past and I have noted Mylan (#3 in generics), WPI and RDY (pre-GSK rumors).  Currently, Mylan has blown through its 52 week high so is it still a buy?  In short answer, yes.  Mylan's future comes from a swath of FDA approvals that have come in over the past few months.

  1. August 27, 2009 Mylan Begins Marketing First Generic Version of BenzaClin(R) Acne Treatment
  2. August 18, 2009 Mylan's Matrix Receives First and Only Tentative FDA Approval Under PEPFAR for Generic Version of Atripla(R) HIV Treatment
  3. August 10, 2009 Mylan Receives FDA Approval for Generic Version of Migraine Treatment Imitrex(R)
  4. July 20, 2009 Mylan Receives FDA Approval for Additional Strengths of the Antipsychotic Haloperidol— Key News from the article. Currently, Mylan has 119 ANDAs pending FDA approval representing $84.7 billion in annual brand


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Pharmboy’s Review

Courtesy of Pharmboy

Good day to all! The corn is ready for harvest, and the fall season is upon our Pharm.  It is time for a quick review to see how we have done, and add a few more goodies to our Plots.

From our 15-Aug-09 list:

Novartis – Buying the $40 Jan10 C @ 6.40 ($1 premium), selling $45 Sept09 for 1.35 (also $1 premium).  The $40s Jan10 are now 9.10, and rolled 2X to the $50 Oct, now at $0.45 (small loss on the roll).  Net ~$2.1 up for the trade.

Bristol-Myers – Buy outright for the dividend, or buying the $20 Jan10 C @ 2.80 ($0.5 premium), selling $22.5 Sept09 C @ $0.55 and $22.5 P@ $0.7.  I think this company has room to run.  Bought outright and the stock closed on OPEX at 22.47…..can’t get better than that……Only stock on this position, but looking to sell the Nov09 24/22 P/C for 0.44/0.75.

SNY – Not as confident on the SNY story as of yet.  I would sell the $32.5 Sept09 P, being prepared to roll down to the $30 Dec09s.  These expired worthless….nice gain.

JNJ Buying the $55 Jan10 C @ 6.50 ($0.5 premium), selling $60s Sept09 C/P for 2.20.  $55 Jan10s currently $6.10, and the Sept P expired worthless.  Sept09 C rolled to the $60 Oct09 C for a 0.50 credit.  Puts not sold as of yet.

Genzyme – Buying the $50 Oct09C @ 4.2 ($1.5 premium), letting it run for the next few days, and then selling $55 Sept09 for 1.25 or better (all premium).  $50 Oct09 are currently $6.80 and the $55 Sept09s were rolled up to the $57.5s almost even.  These will need cashed out for a $2.5 gain, or to be adjusted to the 50 Apr10 C for 9.8.  To help offset the costs, I would sell the $55 Oct09 P for $1 or better.  For a net $1 out of pocket
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Obama’s Backroom Healthcare Deals Need Explaining

Obama’s Backroom Healthcare Deals Need Explaining

Courtesy of Mish

With $900 billion to a $trillion dollars or more at stake, and everyone wanting three shares of the health care pie (while giving up nothing), it should not come as a surprise that ‘Special interests’ play both sides in health fight

"We have the American Nurses Association, we have the American Medical Association on board," Obama told the weekend crowd in Grand Junction, Colo. "We have an agreement from drug companies to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. … The AARP supports this policy."

The drug makers went first in making a deal with the White House, agreeing to pick up $80 billion in additional costs over the next decade to help defray the expenses of the legislation. The American Hospital Association agreed to shoulder an additional $155 billion.

In exchange, both won assurances the White House would protect them against attempts in Congress to seek additional cuts in their projected Medicare and Medicaid payments.

The American Medical Association’s key issue was different. Doctors hope the legislation will allow them to avoid a looming 21 percent cut in payments under Medicare. The cost to the government for that would be about $230 billion over a decade.

Obama also agreed to require individuals to purchase insurance, reversing a position he held during his campaign. "My thinking on the issue of mandates has evolved. And I think that that is typical of most people who study this problem deeper," he said.

Health Care Sweeteners

It’s easy to get buy-ins when you give away the farm. Obama brags about the buy-ins but does not state the costs. Pharmaceutical manufacturers certainly smell the gravy train as noted in Drugmakers Ramp Advertising Campaign For Health Care Reform.

The more promotion there is for this package the more leery of it you should be. The reason the AMA, AARP, and now PhRMA are all lining up behind healthcare reform is because everyone of them has been bought out by sweeteners.

While everyone is concerned about rationing, I am concerned about lack of rationing. What incentives does anyone have to hold down costs?

Certainly big PhRMA has to be thinking more drugs will be prescribed or they would not have a huge ad campaign going while pledging $80 billion in lower drug costs. Here are two key questions:


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Phil's Favorites

Hold on for one more day

 

Hold on for one more day

Courtesy of 

Yes I’m quoting a Wilson Phillips song. I don’t know why.

But I talked about holding on for one more day at the end of February at a moment where it felt hopeless to be a responsible, diversified investor while everyone around you is getting insanely rich buying the craziest shit imaginable.

Feb 22nd:

It seems like the world is moving a thousand miles a minute and you’re missing out on everything. Everyone seems to be whooshing by!  It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear…

Take a deep breath.

...

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Chart School

Who is King? The Bond Market or the FED

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The King Arthur story is battle between a false KING and the true KING. Generally the movie involves surprises, love and violence, and all this coming to the risk on markets very soon. 

The financial blog space expects the FED to do some sort of Yield Curve Control (YCC) to hold interest rates down while inflation moves higher, this is allowing inflation to run hot. The FED wishes to do this over time to deflate the debt away. Very similar to the 1940's post WW2, yields were pegged to 2% and risk on assets went sky high.

However Peter Boockvar suggest the FED may soon learn it is not in control and the true king of the markets is the BOND MARKET. Peter says simply the bond market is telling the FED to bite me!

The FED is not us...

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Zero Hedge

"Days Away From A Crisis": 100,000 Illegal Immigrants Arrested At US Mexico Border; Most For February In 15 Years

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose Congressional district lies near the U.S.-Mexico border, warned that more than 10,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended in a single border sector in Texas in about a week, with Reuters adding that a stunning 100,000 migrants were detained at the border in February, the highest arrest total for the month of February since 2006.

“We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction i...



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ValueWalk

UK Property Industry On The Halifax House Price Index

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The UK property industry‘s reaction to the ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

88% Of COVID Deaths Occurred In Countries Where Over Half Of Population Overweight

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A new report by the World Obesity Federation found that 88% of deaths in the first year of the pandemic occurred in countries where over half of the population is classified as overweight - which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) above 25. Of note, BMI values above 30 - considered obese - are associated with 'particularly severe outcomes,' accor...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Tech Indicator Peaking Again At Dot.com Highs? Joe Friday Says Watch This Index!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Technology is at the heart of our economy… the same way that industrials were 100 years ago.

And that leadership has been present in the stock market for the past two decades. Today’s chart illustrates this… as well as a potential “pause” in that leadership vacuum.

Below is a long-term “monthly” ratio chart of the Nasdaq Composite versus the S&P 500 Index. Here you can see how technology stocks...



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Politics

Why repressive Saudi Arabia remains a US ally

 

Why repressive Saudi Arabia remains a US ally

A demonstrator dressed as Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with blood on his hands protests outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8, 2018. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Jeffrey Fields, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman “approved an operation … to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” according to a...



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Mapping The Market

Which Governments Ordered Johnson & Johnson's Vaccine?

 

Which Governments Ordered Johnson & Johnson's Vaccine?

Courtesy of Niall McCarthy, Statista

On Wednesday, U.S. regulators announced that Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine being developed by its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Belgium is effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of the disease. The jab has been deemed safe with 66 percent efficacy and the FDA is likely to approve it for use in the U.S. within days.

The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine can be stored for up to three months in a refrigerator and requires a single shot, ...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto - It Is Different This Time

 

Crypto – It Is Different This Time

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

?I have been astonished as you know by the growth of crypto.

I remember back in 2017 when I noticed that Stocktwits message volume on Bitcoin ($BTC.X) surpassed that of $SPY. I knew Bitcoin was here to stay and Bitcoin went on to $19,000 before heading into its bear market.

Today Bitcoin is near $50,000.

Back in November of 2020, something new started to happen on Stocktwits with respect to crypto.

After the close on Friday until the open of the futures on Sunday, all Stocktwits trending tickers turned crypto. The weekend messages on Stocktwits have increased 400 percent.

That has continued each weekend...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.