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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ValueWalk

Coronavirus stimulus check 2: Get it together, Congress

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Many Americans are waiting for coronavirus stimulus check number 2, and the June jobs report caused some to think there won’t be one. However, it sounds like a second round of IRS stimulus checks is still possible. In fact, we might even be able to say that it’s likely.

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Mixed unemployment numbers

The Department of Labor showed that the U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, which is the largest increase ever recorded. ...



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Zero Hedge

"Panic-Driven Hoarding Of Bank Notes": People Aren't Abandoning Cash During The Pandemic, They're Socking It Away

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Habits change in the midst of a global recession, not to mention a global pandemic. We have already looked at how the pandemic has caused seismic shifts in many industries, but it is also causing a shift in how people think about, handle and (in this case) hoard cash. 

While we have been told non-stop that the pandemic is going to prompt the demise of paper currency and the words "digital dollar" continue to make appearances in government white papers and studies, the Bank of England found that there was a...



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Phil's Favorites

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

 

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

Different countries report coronavirus data differently. Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Marion Boisseau-Sierra, Cambridge Judge Business School

Watching scientists, politicians and journalists struggle to compare national death rates from the coronavirus pandemic, I had an acute case of déjà vu. Though the virus may be novel, the confusion generated by inconsistent data standards is anything but. It’s something I&...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

 

Coronavirus deaths and swelling public sector debt share a data-quality problem

Different countries report coronavirus data differently. Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Marion Boisseau-Sierra, Cambridge Judge Business School

Watching scientists, politicians and journalists struggle to compare national death rates from the coronavirus pandemic, I had an acute case of déjà vu. Though the virus may be novel, the confusion generated by inconsistent data standards is anything but. It’s something I&...



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Chart School

Golds quick price move increases the odds of a correction

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Every market corrects, maybe profit taking, maybe of allowing those who missed out, to get in!


The current open interest on the gold contract looks to high after a very fast price move, it looks like 2008 may be repeating. A quick flushing out of the weak hands open interest may take place before a real advance in price takes place. The correction may be on the back of a wider sell off of risk assets (either before of after US elections) as all assets suffer contagion selling (just like 2008).

This blog view is a gold price correction of 10% to 20% range is a buying opportunity. Of course we may see  a very minor price correction but a long time correction, a price or time is correction is expected, we shall watch and...

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The Technical Traders

Wild Volatility Continues As US Markets Attempt To Establish New Trend

Courtesy of Technical Traders

We’ve continued to attempt to warn investors of the risks ahead for the US and global markets by generating these research posts and by providing very clear data supporting our conclusions.  Throughout the entire months of May and June, we’ve seen various economic data points report very mixed results – and in some cases, surprise numbers as a result of the deep economic collapse related to the COVID-19 virus event.  This research post should help to clear things up going forward for most traders/investors.

As technical traders, we attempt to digest these economic data factors into technical and price analysis while determining where and what ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Nasdaq 100 Relative Strength Testing 2000 Highs

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The tech bubble didn’t end well. BUT it did tell us that the world was shifting into the technology age…

Since the Nasdaq 100 bottomed in 2002, the broader markets have turned over leadership to the technology sector.

This can be seen in today’s chart, highlighting the ratio of Nasdaq 100 to S&P 500 performance (on a “monthly” basis).

As you can see, the bars are in a rising bullish channel and have turned sharply higher since the 2018 stock market lows. This highlights the strength of the Nasdaq 100 and large-cap tech stocks.

...

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Lee's Free Thinking

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

 

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

Courtesy of  

The COVID 19 pandemic is, predictably, worsening again in much of the US. Only the Northeast, and to a lesser extent some Midwestern states, have been consistently improving. And that trend could also reverse as those states fully reopen.

The problem in the US seems to be widespread public resistance to recommended practices of social distancing and mask wearing. In countries where these practices have been practi...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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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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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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.