Today’s stock disaster

GTx announces placebo-controlled ASTRID trial did not meet primary endpoint

GTx Phase 2 trial of enobosarm meets primary endpoint. Stockwinners.com
Today’s stock disaster

GTx (GTXI) announced that the ASTRID Trial, a Phase 2 double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of orally-administered enobosarm in post-menopausal women with stress urinary incontinence, did not achieve statistical significance on the primary endpoint of the proportion of patients with a greater than 50% reduction in incontinence episodes per day compared to placebo.

The percentage of patients with a greater than 50% reduction after 12 weeks of enobosarm treatment was 58.9% for 3mg, 57.7% for 1mg and 52.7% for placebo.

Enobosarm was generally safe and well tolerated.

Reported adverse events were minimal and similar across all treatment groups.

“We are very disappointed that the ASTRID Trial did not achieve its primary endpoint,” said Robert Wills, executive chairman of GTx.

“We plan to conduct a full review of all the data. We want to thank the patients, physicians, study coordinators and the entire GTx team for their support of this novel study. We have an ongoing preclinical program assessing the potential of SARDs, our novel selective androgen receptor degrader technology, to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer. We are currently on target to have development candidates by year end, which we potentially plan to take into IND-enabling studies.”

GTXI closed at $23.29, it last traded at $2.00.


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Incyte reports positive data

Incyte announces Phase 2b trial of ruxolitinib cream met primary endpoint

Incyte says REACH1 trial met primary endpoint, Stockwinners
Incyte reports positive data, Stockwinners

Incyte Corporation (INCY) announced positive results from its randomized, dose-ranging, vehicle- and active-controlled Phase 2b study evaluating ruxolitinib cream in patients with atopic dermatitis who are candidates for topical therapy.

The study, part of the True-AD clinical trial program, met its primary endpoint, demonstrating that ruxolitinib cream 1.5% administered twice daily significantly improved Eczema Area and Severity Index scores – a measurement of the extent and severity of AD – from baseline versus vehicle control at Week 4.

Additionally, treatment with ruxolitinib cream 1.5% BID resulted in a rapid and sustained reduction in itch versus vehicle, a key secondary endpoint.

These results were shared in an oral presentation today at the 27th European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology Congress in Paris, France.

Key study results included: Significantly improved EASI score in the ruxolitinib cream 1.5% BID arm versus vehicle at Week 4, the primary endpoint, and improvement in EASI score versus the active control, triamcinolone 0.1% cream, at Week 4, a secondary endpoint.

Significantly improved EASI scores in the ruxolitinib cream 1.5% BID arm versus vehicle at Weeks 2 and 8. Significantly greater changes in EASI score in the once daily ruxolitinib cream 1.5% and 0.5% arms versus vehicle at Week 4.

Significantly more Investigator’s Global Assessment responders – a measure of disease severity – in the ruxolitinib cream 1.5% BID arm versus vehicle at Week 4, and greater IGA response rates across other ruxolitinib arms versus vehicle.

Rapid and sustained reductions in itch numerical rating scale score observed as early as within two days from the initiation of therapy, and a more pronounced reduction in itch with ruxolitinib cream 1.5% BID and QD than with triamcinolone cream 0.1% BID.

Ruxolitinib cream was well-tolerated at all dosage strengths and was not associated with clinically-significant application site reactions.

All treatment-related adverse events were Grade 1 or Grade 2 in severity. Ruxolitinib cream is the first JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor to exhibit positive results as a topical monotherapy in the AD patient population.

Over-activity of the JAK signaling pathway has been shown to drive inflammation involved in the pathogenesis of AD.

These data support the planned initiation of a global, pivotal Phase 3 program, for which preparations are already underway.

INCY closed at $66.51.


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K2M Group sold for $1.4B

Stryker to acquire K2M Group for $27.50 per share

K2M Group sold for $1.4B , Stockwinners
K2M Group sold for $1.4B , Stockwinners

Stryker (SYK) announced a definitive merger agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of K2M Group (KTWO) for $27.50 per share, or a total equity value of approximately $1.4B.

The combined business will have a competitive portfolio across Stryker’s Spine product categories and leverage a more powerful commercial engine.

With the addition of K2M’s proven product portfolio, consistent track record of execution and robust pipeline, Stryker Spine’s business will be well-positioned to sustain innovation and provide its customers and employees with proven products.

Upon closing of the transaction, it is expected that Eric Major will serve as President of Stryker’s Spine division and lead the combined business in its continued growth and innovation.

Bradley Paddock, the current President of Stryker’s Spine division, will assist with transitioning his responsibilities to Major while also supporting the integration efforts.

The acquisition of K2M is expected to close late in the fourth quarter of this year and is expected to have an immaterial dilutive impact to Stryker’s net EPS and adjusted net EPS in 2018.

There is no change to Stryker’s previously announced expected adjusted net EPS for the full year, which is a range of $7.22-$7.27.

For 2019, and beyond, Stryker reaffirms its previously stated long-term financial goals for sales, operating margins and adjusted net EPS.


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Spark Therapeutics tumbles on hemophilia study

Spark says Phase 1/2 data for SPK-8011 shows a 97% reduction in ABR

Spark tumbles on hemophilia study , Stockwinners
Spark tumbles on hemophilia study , Stockwinners

 

Shares of Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) are sinking after the company announced preliminary Phase 1/2 data for its investigational gene therapy candidate SPK-8011 for hemophilia A. A dose response as demonstrated by FVIII expression ranged from 16% to 49%, with a mean of 30% post 12 weeks in five of the participants in the 2×1012 vg/kg cohort, Spark announced in its Q2 earnings release.

As of the July 13, 2018, data cutoff, 12 participants in the Phase 1/2 trial have received a single administration of investigational SPK-8011, including two at a dose of 5×1011 vector genomes /kg body weight, three at a dose of 1×1012 vg/kg and seven at a dose of 2×1012 vg/kg.

Across all participants, at all three doses, beginning four weeks after vector infusion, there has been a 97-percent reduction in annualized bleeding rate and a 97-percent reduction in annualized infusion rate.

The first two trial participants, who have been followed for greater than one year, have shown stable FVIII activity levels since reaching plateau for up to 66 weeks, with follow up ongoing.

Additionally, there is evidence of a dose-dependent increase in mean FVIII activity levels across the three dose cohorts.

Five of the participants in the 2×1012 vg/kg cohort have FVIII activity levels between 16 and 49 percent, with follow-up ranging from 12 to 30 weeks.

The mean FVIII activity for these five participants is 30 percent, based on average FVIII levels post-12 weeks after vector infusion. These five participants have reduced their overall ABR by 100 percent and reduced their overall AIR by 100 percent.

The other two participants in the 2×1012 vg/kg cohort had an immune response that caused their FVIII levels to decline to less than 5 percent. Clinically, both participants have moved from prophylactic to on-demand treatment and have seen meaningful reductions in their bleeding and infusion rates.

One of these participants did not rapidly respond to oral steroids and he elected to be admitted to the hospital to receive two intravenous methylprednisolone infusions rather than have the infusions on an outpatient basis.

The event was subsequently resolved. The admission to hospital for these infusions met the criteria for a serious adverse event.

Of note, across the study, seven of the 12 participants received a tapering course of oral steroids in response to an alanine aminotransferase elevation above patient baseline, declining FVIII levels and/or positive IFN-g enzyme-linked immunospots.

For these seven participants, steroids led to normalization of ALT and ELISPOTs.

For all but the two above mentioned 2×1012 vg/kg cohort participants, oral steroids led to stabilization of target FVIII levels. Based on the totality of the results to date, Spark Therapeutics intends to initiate a Phase 3 run-in study in the fourth quarter of 2018. Following completion of the run-in study, Phase 3 participants are expected to receive 2×1012 vg/kg of SPK-8011.

Additional details on the Phase 3 trial design will be determined following continued discussions with FDA and EMA, which are expected in the fourth quarter.

Finally, the company has successfully scaled-up its mammalian-based manufacturing process in suspension to a capacity level of 200 liters and amended its agreement with Brammer Bio to secure a dedicated manufacturing suite, both of which will enable Spark Therapeutics to meet supply needs for Phase 3 clinical development as well as expected commercial requirements.

ONCE closed at $77.61, it last traded at $56.00.


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ResTORbio higher on data

ResTORbio announces ‘positive’ topline results in Phase 2b trial of RTB101

ResTORbio higher on data, Stockwinners
ResTORbio higher on data, Stockwinners

ResTORbio (TORC) announced positive topline results from its dose-ranging Phase 2b clinical trial that enrolled 652 elderly patients at increased risk of morbidity and mortality associated with respiratory tract infections.

In this trial, RTB101, an oral, selective, and potent inhibitor of target of rapamycin complex 1, demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful reduction in the percentage of patients with one or more laboratory-confirmed RTIs during the 16-week treatment period compared to placebo, the primary endpoint of the study, with the 10 mg once daily dose.

Greater TORC1 inhibition with RTB101 10 mg in combination with everolimus 0.1 mg did not meet the primary endpoint, suggesting that that less TORC1 inhibition with RTB101 10 mg once daily may have greater benefit in high-risk elderly patients.

The Phase 2b trial was a two-part, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted during the winter cold and flu season in the southern hemisphere and northern hemisphere.

Patients enrolled were those at increased risk of morbidity and mortality from RTIs including patients who were: 85 years of age or older, or 65 years of age or older with asthma, type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or current smokers.

The doses investigated in Part 1 were RTB101 5 mg and RTB101 10 mg once daily. The doses investigated in Part 2 were RTB101 10 mg once daily, RTB101 10 mg twice daily and RTB101 10 mg in combination with everolimus 0.1 mg once daily.

The following was observed in an analysis of the primary endpoint: A 30.6% decrease relative to placebo in the percentage of all patients treated with RTB101 10 mg once daily who developed one or more laboratory-confirmed RTs. A 20.6% decrease relative to placebo in the percentage of all patients treated with RTB101 5 mg once daily who developed one or more laboratory-confirmed RTIs.

No decrease relative to placebo in the percentage of patients treated with either RTB101 10 mg twice daily or the combination of RTB101 10 mg + everolimus 0.1 mg once daily who developed one or more laboratory-confirmed RTIs, suggesting that less TORC1 inhibition with RTB101 10 mg once daily may have greater benefit in high-risk elderly patients.

To better understand the activity observed in the RTB101 10 mg once daily cohort, a pre-specified analysis of each patient subgroup enrolled in the study was conducted.

The following decreases in the percentage of patients with laboratory-confirmed RTIs were observed in the RTB101 10 mg once daily cohort as compared to the placebo cohort: A 68.4% decrease in all asthma patients.

A 66.7% decrease in all patients 85 years of age and older. A 26.9% decrease in all T2DM patients.

No decrease was observed in either COPD patients or current smokers; a 42.0% decrease in all patients was observed when excluding patients with COPD and a 43.9% decrease in all patients was observed when excluding current smokers.

All doses were observed to be well-tolerated. Data from the RTB101 10 mg once daily cohort are as follows: Adverse events were balanced between the RTB101 10 mg once daily and placebo treatment groups. 4.5% of subjects in the RTB101 10 mg once daily cohort and 7.2% of subjects in the placebo cohort had a serious adverse event, none of which were considered related to study drug. 4.5% of subjects in the RTB101 10 mg once daily cohort and 6.1% of subjects in the placebo cohort discontinued study drug due to an AE.

All AEs were mild or moderate except for 11 severe AEs in the RTB101 10 mg once daily cohort and 22 severe AEs in the placebo cohort.

TORC closed at $9.01, it last traded at $24.49.


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 Apollo in talks to acquire LifePoint Health

Apollo in advanced discussions to acquire LifePoint Health

Apollo in advanced discussions to acquire LifePoint Health, Stockwinners
Apollo in advanced discussions to acquire LifePoint Health, Stockwinners

Apollo Global (APO) is in advanced talks to buy LifePoint Health (LPNT), two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

The deal could value LifePoint at nearly $6B, including debt, the sources said, adding that Apollo plans to combine LifePoint with RegionalCare Hospital Partners, another regional hospital operator that it owns.

If the negotiations are completed successfully, a deal could be announced as early as next week, the sources said, cautioning that it was possible talks could fail at the last minute. The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Rural healthcare providers such as LifePoint have been challenged in recent years because their reliance on federal insurers such as Medicare and Medicaid has made them particularly vulnerable to changing reimbursement programs. In addition, hospital operating costs have been rising faster than reimbursement rate increases.

Apollo, which raised a $24.6 billion private equity fund last year, acquired RegionalCare in 2015, and merged it with another hospital operator, Capella Healthcare, in 2016.

It would be by far the biggest acquisition for Apollo this year. LifePoint currently has a market capitalization of $1.9 billion and long-term net debt of $2.9 billion.

LPNT closed at $47.90.


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Zogenix sharply higher on data

Zogenix says primary endpoint achieved in second Phase 3 clinical trial of ZX008

Zogenix sharply higher on data, Stockwinners
Zogenix sharply higher on data, Stockwinners

Zogenix (ZGNX) reported positive top-line results from its second confirmatory Phase 3 study for its investigational drug, ZX008, for the treatment of children and young adults with Dravet syndrome.

Dravet syndrome is a rare, catastrophic, lifelong form of epilepsy that begins in the first year of life with frequent and/or prolonged seizures. Previously known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI), it affects one out of 15,700 individuals, 80% of whom have a mutation in their SCN1A gene.

The study results, which are consistent with those reported in Study 1, Zogenix’s first pivotal Phase 3 study, successfully met the primary endpoint and all key secondary endpoints, demonstrating that ZX008, at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg/day, is superior to placebo when added to a stiripentol regimen. Key Findings: Patients taking ZX008 achieved a 54.7% greater reduction in mean monthly convulsive seizures compared to placebo.

The median reduction in monthly convulsive seizure frequency was 62.7% in the ZX008 group compared to 1.2% in placebo patients. ZX008 also demonstrated statistically significant improvement versus placebo in both key secondary measures, including patients with clinically meaningful reductions in seizure frequency and longest seizure-free interval.

ZX008 was generally well-tolerated in this study with the adverse events consistent with those observed in Study 1 and the known safety profile of fenfluramine.

No patient exhibited cardiac valvulopathy or pulmonary hypertension at any time in the study.

Secondary endpoints assessed ZX008 compared to placebo in terms of the proportions of patients who achieved greater than or equal to 50% reductions and greater than or equal to 75% reductions in monthly convulsive seizures, as well as the median of the longest convulsive seizure-free interval.

ZX008 was generally well-tolerated in this study, with the adverse events consistent with those observed in Study 1 and the known safety profile of fenfluramine.

The incidence of treatment emergent adverse events was similar in both the treatment and placebo groups, with 97.7% of patients receiving ZX008 experiencing at least one treatment emergent adverse event compared to 95.5% of patients in the placebo group.

The most common adverse events in the ZX008 group were decreased appetite, diarrhea, pyrexia, fatigue, and nasopharyngitis.

The incidence of serious adverse events was similar in both the treatment and placebo groups, with 14% of patients in the ZX008 group experiencing at least one treatment emergent serious adverse event compared to 15.9% of patients in the placebo group. T

wo patients in the ZX008 group had an adverse event leading to study discontinuation compared to one in the placebo group.

ZGNX closed at $46.30, it last traded at $55.30.


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Pfizer shares lower after talk with President prompts rollback

Pfizer under pressure after talk with President prompts rollback

Pfizer shares lower after talk with President prompts rollback, Stockwinners
Pfizer shares lower after talk with President prompts rollback, Stockwinners

After speaking with President Donald Trump, Pfizer (PFE) stated that it will roll back its July 1 price increases “to give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access for patients.”

Additionally this morning, the company announced that it will reorganize into three units, separating its consumer health-care business, which the drugmaker has been trying to sell since last year, from its groups focused on “innovative” medicines” and “established” medicines.

PRICE ROLLBACK

In a statement provided to CNBC’s Meg Tirrell yesterday, Pfizer said it will roll back its July 1 price increases “to give the president an opportunity to work on his blueprint to strengthen the healthcare system and provide more access for patients.”

The company released the statement following an “extensive discussion” with President Trump. Pfizer said it will return such prices to their pre-July 1 levels as soon as technically possible, and the prices will remain in effect until the earlier of when the president’s blueprint goes into effect or the end of the year. In addition, the drug giant said that the price declines the company took as of July 1 will remain in effect.

This comes after President Trump called out the company and other drugmakers for raising prices.

In a tweet, Trump previously said Pfizer and peers “should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason,” accusing the company and industry of “merely taking advantage of the poor and others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe and elsewhere.”

BUSINESS REORGANIZATION

This morning, Pfizer also announced it will organize the company into three businesses, namely a science-based Innovative Medicines business that will now include biosimilars and a new hospital business unit for anti-infectives and sterile injectables; an off-patent branded and generic Established Medicines business operating with substantial autonomy within Pfizer; and a Consumer Healthcare business.

These changes will be effective at the beginning of the company’s 2019 fiscal year, and are not expected to impact current capital allocation priorities or full-year 2018 financial guidance.

READ-THROUGH TO OTHERS IN THE SECTOR

Commenting on the events, Wells Fargo analyst David Maris told investors that drug stocks will not react favorably to this news, given the chilling effect this will likely have on others looking to take price increases.

Nonetheless, the analyst pointed out that the price increases taken in July are only small compared to other increases taken over the past year or several years, so the impact of the rollback to the healthcare system is insignificant in the big picture.

Maris also added that he believes the administration’s and other key legislators’ focus is not only on drug pricing, but on the overall supply chain and delivery system, including drug rebating, co-pay coupons, etc.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

According to Bloomberg, Gilead (GILD), Roche (RHHBY), Novo Nordisk (NVO) and Novartis (NVS) have all sent notices to California health plans rescinding or reducing previously announced price hikes in the wake of a new drug pricing transparency law that was enacted in the state.

The California measure, which is among the most aggressive efforts by states to rein in drug costs, is being challenged in court by the drug industry’s lobbying group, the report noted.

Other large cap pharmaceutical companies include AstraZeneca (AZN), Bristol-Myers (BMY), Eli Lilly (LLY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Merck (MRK), and Sanofi (SNY).

PRICE ACTION

In morning trading, shares of Pfizer have dropped about 0.5% to $37.28.


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Bristol-Myers treatment for colorectal cancer approved

Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo approved for MSI-H/dMMR metastatic colorectal cancer

Bristol-Myers treatment for colorectal cancer approved, Stockwinners
Bristol-Myers treatment for colorectal cancer approved, Stockwinners

Bristol-Myers (BMY) announced Opdivo – nivolumab – 3 mg/kg plus low-dose Yervoy – ipilimumab – 1 mg/kg injections for intravenous use received approval from the FDA for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older with microsatellite instability high or mismatch repair deficient metastatic colorectal cancer that has progressed following treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan.

Approval for this indication has been granted under accelerated approval.

Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

The application was granted Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA.

Among the 82 patients who received prior treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan, 46% responded to treatment with Opdivo + Yervoy.

The percentage of these patients with a complete response was 3.7%, and the percentage of patients with a partial response was 43%.

Among these 38 responders, the median DOR was not reached; 89% of those patients had responses of six months or longer, and 21% had responses of 12 months or longer.

This trial is ongoing. Among all enrolled patients, 49% responded to treatment with Opdivo + Yervoy; 4.2% experienced a complete response, while 45% experienced a partial response.

Opdivo was discontinued in 13% of patients and delayed in 45% of patients due to an adverse reaction.

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 47% of patients.

The Opdivo + Yervoy combination is also approved in two other tumor types, advanced renal cell carcinoma and unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

Continued approval for these accelerated approval indications may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

BMY closed at $56.18.


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Celgene announces positive breast cancer data

Celgene announces IMpassion130 study meets co-primary endpoint of PFS

Celgene announces positive breast cancer data, Stockwinners
Celgene announces positive breast cancer data, Stockwinners

Celgene (CELG) announced that the Phase III IMpassion130 study met its co-primary endpoint of progression-free survival, or PFS.

This is the first phase III study to demonstrate a statistically significant PFS improvement in first-line metastatic or unresectable locally advanced triple negative breast cancer, or TNBC, a type of breast cancer with high unmet need.

Results demonstrated that the investigational combination of Tecentriq plus Abraxane compared to Abraxane monotherapy, as an initial treatment, significantly reduced the risk of disease worsening or death in patients with metastatic or unresectable locally advanced TNBC in the intention-to-treat and PD-L1 positive populations.

Overall survival is encouraging in the PD-L1 positive population at this interim analysis, and follow up will continue until the next planned analysis.

Safety in the Tecentriq plus Abraxane arm appeared consistent with the known safety profiles of the individual medicines, and no new safety signals were identified with the combination.

ABRAXANE is a microtubule inhibitor indicated for the treatment of:

Metastatic breast cancer, after failure of combination chemotherapy
for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant
chemotherapy. Prior therapy should have included an anthracycline
unless clinically contraindicated.
• Locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC),
as first-line treatment in combination with carboplatin, in patients who
are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation therapy.
• Metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas as first-line treatment, in
combination with gemcitabine.

TECENTRIQ is a prescription medicine used to treat:

A type of bladder and urinary tract cancer called urothelial carcinoma.

  • TECENTRIQ may be used when your bladder cancer:
    • has spread or cannot be removed by surgery, and
    • you are not able to take chemotherapy that contains a medicine called cisplatin, or
    • you have tried chemotherapy that contains platinum, and it did not work or is no longer working.

CELG closed at $83.85.


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Biogen sharply higher on data

Eisai and Biogen announce positive results of the final analysis for BAN2401

Biogen sharply higher on data, Stockwinners
Biogen sharply higher on data, Stockwinners

Eisai (ESALY) and Biogen (BIIB) announced positive topline results from the Phase II study with BAN2401, an anti-amyloid beta protofibril antibody, in 856 patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.

The study achieved statistical significance on key predefined endpoints evaluating efficacy at 18 months on slowing progression in Alzheimer’s Disease Composite Score and on reduction of amyloid accumulated in the brain as measured using amyloid-PET. Topline results of the final analysis of the study demonstrated a statistically significant slowing of disease progression on the key clinical endpoint after 18 months of treatment in patients receiving the highest treatment dose as compared to placebo.

Results of amyloid PET analyses at 18 months, including reduction in amyloid PET standardized uptake value ratio and amyloid PET image visual read of subjects converting from positive to negative for amyloid in the brain, were also statistically significant at this dose. Dose-dependent changes from baseline were observed across the PET results and the clinical endpoints.

Further, the highest treatment dose of BAN2401 began to show statistically significant clinical benefit as measured by ADCOMS as early as 6 months including at 12 months. BAN2401 demonstrated an acceptable tolerability profile through 18 months of study drug administration.

The most common treatment emergent adverse events were infusion-related reactions and Amyloid Related Imaging Abnormalities. Infusion related reactions were mostly mild to moderate in severity. Incidence of ARIA-E was not more than 10% in any of the treatment arms, and less than 15% in patients with APOE4 at the highest dose per the study protocol safety and reporting procedures.

BIIB closed at $298.81, it last traded at $338. ESALY closed at $71.10.


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Zynerba lower following disappointing results

Zynerba says target blood levels in ZYN001 THC-Prodrug patch study not achieved

Zynerba lower following disappointing results, Stockwinners
Zynerba lower following disappointing results, Stockwinners

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) announced top line results from a Phase 1 clinical program studying ZYN001, the Company’s patent-protected, pro-drug of tetrahydrocannabinol delivered via a transdermal patch, in healthy volunteers.

The program assessed the safety and pharmacokinetics in single and multiple doses of several formulations of ZYN001.

The top line results of this Phase 1 study indicate that target blood levels of 5 to 15 ng/ml THC were not achieved.

ZYN001 was very well tolerated with minimal skin erythema.

There were no serious adverse events or discontinuations for subjects receiving ZYN001.

As a result of these data, the Company will focus its development efforts and investments on the ZYN002 Fragile X syndrome, developmental and epileptic encephalopathy and adult refractory epilepsy programs.

The company expects that this change will extend its cash runway into the second half of 2019.

This Phase 1 study was a single and multiple dose, placebo-controlled first-in-man study to assess the safety and pharmacokinetics of ZYN001 administered as a transdermal patch to healthy adult subjects.

Several formulations and patch wear times ranging from 24 hours to 14 days were assessed in in 60 healthy subjects who were randomized to ZYN001 or placebo.

ZYNE closed at $9.61, it last traded at $7.60.


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Juniper Pharmaceuticals sold for $139.6 Million

Catalent agrees to acquire Juniper Pharmaceuticals for $11.50 per share 

Juniper Pharmaceuticals sold for $139.6 Million, Stockwinners
Juniper Pharmaceuticals sold for $139.6 Million, Stockwinners

Catalent (CTLT) announced that it has agreed to acquire Juniper Pharmaceuticals (JNP), including its Nottingham, U.K.-based Juniper Pharma Services division.

When combined with Catalent’s existing industry-leading drug development and manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. and Europe, the acquisition of Juniper will expand and strengthen Catalent’s offerings in formulation development, bioavailability solutions and clinical-scale oral dose manufacturing, and will complement its integrated global clinical and commercial supply network. Juniper’s nearly 150 employees have deep scientific expertise in formulation development, and supply, and will augment Catalent’s current portfolio of solid-state screening, preformulation, formulation, analytical, and bioavailability enhancement solutions, including development of spray-dried dispersions, with integrated development, analytical, and clinical manufacturing co-located in its Nottingham facility.

Catalent will continue to support Juniper’s CRINONE franchise marketed by Merck KGaA outside of the U.S.

Juniper’s Intravaginal Ring development pipeline was previously licensed to Dare Bioscience, and Catalent will not be involved in the further development of this program.

The acquisition of Juniper is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including that a majority of Juniper’s shares are tendered into the offer, and is expected to close in the first quarter of Catalent’s 2019 fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2018.

Like Catalent, Juniper has expertise in solid-state and preclinical formulation screening for lead-candidate selection, phase-appropriate dose-form development, and superior technologies for challenging molecules, which will strengthen and expand on Catalent’s OptiForm Solution Suite platform.

Juniper provides bioavailability enhancement solutions for the development of poorly soluble compounds, including nano-milling, spray drying, hot-melt extrusion, lipid-based drug delivery, and cGMP clinical manufacturing, including specialized facilities and controls for potent and controlled substances. Under its acquisition agreement with Juniper, a subsidiary of Catalent will promptly commence a tender offer to purchase all of Juniper’s shares for a price of $11.50, net to the seller in cash.

Following the conclusion of the tender offer, Catalent intends to complete the transaction by acquiring the remainder of the Juniper shares at the same price through a merger with a newly formed wholly owned subsidiary of Catalent.

JNP closed at $8.70. CTLT closed at $41.82.


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Compugen Higher as FDA lifts clinical hold on its cancer treatment 

Compugen Higher as FDA lifts clinical hold on its cancer treatment 

Compugen Higher as FDA lifts clinical hold on its cancer treatment , Stockwinners
Compugen Higher as FDA lifts clinical hold on its cancer treatment , Stockwinners

Shares of Compugen (CGEN) surged in pre-market trading after the Israeli biotech company said that the clinical hold on its investigational new drug application for COM701 was lifted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Separately, Compugen said the FDA cleared Bayer’s (BAYRY) IND application for BAY 1905254.

CLINICAL HOLD LIFTED

Compugen said this morning that the FDA has lifted the clinical hold on its IND for COM701, an immuno-oncology therapeutic antibody targeting PVRIG in patients with advanced solid tumors.

The FDA said the company may now begin a clinical study of the antibody. PVRIG is an investigational monoclonal antibody, a molecule that has the ability to bind with high specificity to a given target, being developed by Compugen to treat various types of cancer.

“We believe the COM701 preclinical data suggest that targeting PVRIG may effectively stimulate an anti-tumor immune response in certain cancers such as breast, endometrial, ovarian and lung, and specifically in patient populations that are unresponsive to current checkpoint inhibitors,” Compugen President and Chief Executive Officer Anat Cohen-Dayag stated.

Looking ahead, Compugen said it plans to initiate a first-in-human Phase 1 study in the U.S. in patients with advanced solid tumors and for whom standard of care therapies are currently ineffective.

In April, Compugen said the FDA requested additional CMC information from the company in support of the COM701 IND application.

At the time, the FDA recommended a lower starting dose of COM701 for the trial.

BAYER IND APPLICATION CLEARANCE

Additionally this morning, Computgen said that the FDA approved Bayer’s (BAYRY) IND application for BAY 1905254, a a first-in-class immuno-oncology therapeutic antibody targeting the ILDR2 protein in patients with advanced solid tumors.

Compugen is entitled to receive a milestone payment upon the first patient dosing with BAY 1905254 in the Phase 1 clinical trial expected in 2018.

PRICE ACTION

In pre-market trading, Compugen is up 45c, or 13.6% to $3.75 per share.


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Novartis receives positive CHMP opinion for Kymriah

Novartis receives positive CHMP opinion for Kymriah

Novartis receives positive CHMP opinion for Kymriah, Stockwinners
Novartis receives positive CHMP opinion for Kymriah, Stockwinners

Novartis (NVS) announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency adopted a positive opinion recommending approval of Kymriah – a novel one-time treatment that uses a patient’s own T cells to fight cancer.

The positive opinion includes two B-cell malignancies: B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia that is refractory, in relapse post-transplant or in second or later relapse in patients up to 25 years of age; and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that is relapsed or refractory after two or more lines of systemic therapy in adults.

If approved by the European Commission, Kymriah will be the first CAR-T cell therapy available in the European Union for both DLBCL and B-cell ALL.

Both B-cell ALL and DLBCL are aggressive malignancies with significant treatment gaps for patients.

In Europe, ALL accounts for approximately 80% of leukemia cases among children, and for those patients who relapse, the outlook is poor. This low survival rate is in spite of patients having to undergo multiple treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy or stem cell transplant, and further highlights the need for new treatment options.

DLBCL is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for up to 40% of all cases globally.

For patients who relapse or don’t respond to initial therapy, there are limited treatment options that provide durable responses, and survival rates are low for the majority of patients due to ineligibility for autologous stem cell transplant or because salvage chemotherapy or ASCT have failed.

The positive CHMP opinion is based on two pivotal Novartis-sponsored global, multi-center, Phase II trials, ELIANA and JULIET, which included patients from Europe, the US, Australia, Canada and Japan. The collaboration of Novartis and the University of Pennsylvania has led to historic milestones in CAR-T cell therapy since 2012, including the initiation of the first global CAR-T trials, the PRIME designation granted by the EMA for Kymriah in pediatric patients with r/r B-cell ALL, and the approval of Kymriah in two distinct indications by the US Food and Drug Administration.

ELIANA is the first pediatric global CAR-T cell therapy registration trial, treating patients in 25 centers in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and the EU, including: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Spain. JULIET is the first multi-center global registration study for Kymriah in adult patients with r/r DLBCL.

JULIET is also the largest global study evaluating a CAR-T cell therapy in patients with DLBCL, enrolling patients from 27 sites in 10 countries across the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and the EU, including: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands.

The Novartis CAR-T cell manufacturing platform includes cryopreservation, the process of freezing patients’ harvested cells in order to preserve them, which provides physicians with the flexibility to decide when to initiate both the harvesting of patients’ cells and the infusion of Kymriah, based on each patient’s condition, and allows for this individualized treatment approach on a global scale.

The European Commission will now review the CHMP recommendation to deliver its final decision, applicable to all 28 EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

NVS closed at $73.00, it last traded at $75.50.


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