Intra-Cellular sharply higher on it’s Bipolar drug

Intra-Cellular says lumateperone 42 mg met primary endpoint in Study 402

Intra-Cellular Therapies (ITCI) announced positive topline results from its Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating lumateperone as adjunctive therapy to lithium or valproate in the treatment of major depressive episodes associated with Bipolar I or Bipolar II disorder.

Intra-Cellular sharply higher on its bi-polar drug

In Study 402, once daily lumateperone 42 mg met the primary endpoint for improvement in depression as measured by change from baseline versus placebo on the MADRS total score.

Lumateperone 42 mg also met the key secondary endpoint, the CGI-BP-S Depression Score.

The lower lumateperone dose, 28 mg, showed a trend for a dose-related improvement in symptoms of depression but the results did not reach statistical significance.

Lumateperone demonstrated a favorable safety profile and was generally well-tolerated in the trial.

Lumateperone was successful in treating bipolar disorders

The most commonly reported adverse events that were observed at a rate greater than or equal to 5% and at least twice the rate of placebo were somnolence, dizziness, and nausea.

Rates of akathisia, restlessness, extrapyramidal symptoms, and changes in weight were similar to placebo.

This trial, in conjunction with our previously reported positive Phase 3 monotherapy study, Study 404, forms the basis for our sNDA for the treatment of bipolar depression in patients with Bipolar I or II disorder as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy which we expect to submit to the FDA in late 2020 or early 2021.

Study 402 was conducted globally in five countries including in the U.S. A total of 529 patients with moderate to severe major depressive episodes associated with either Bipolar I or Bipolar II disorder were randomized 1:1:1 to lumateperone 42 mg, 28 mg or placebo, while being maintained on lithium or valproate as mood stabilizers.

Lumateperone 42 mg met the primary endpoint by demonstrating a statistically significant improvement compared to placebo at week 6, as measured by change from baseline on the MADRS total score.

In the intent-to-treat study population, the least squares mean reduction from baseline for lumateperone 42 mg was 16.9 points, versus 14.5 points for placebo. Lumateperone 42 mg also met the key secondary endpoint of statistically significant improvement on the CGI-BP-S Depression Score.

Lumateperone 28 mg showed a trend for a dose-related improvement in symptoms of depression.

Though not formally tested against placebo since it did not separate on the primary endpoint, lumateperone 28 mg demonstrated a statistically significant improvement versus placebo on the CGI-BP-S. Lumateperone was generally well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile in the trial.

Adverse events were mostly mild to moderate and similar to those seen in prior studies in bipolar depression and schizophrenia, with no new adverse events observed. These findings provide further evidence supporting lumateperone’s favorable safety and tolerability profile across different patient populations.

 Importantly, lumateperone was generally safe and well tolerated in the study, adds the analyst. Hazlett believes that if approved in this indication, lumateperone would be differentiated as a potential first-line treatment option in depressive episodes associated with both bipolar I and bipolar II disorders.

ITCI is up 76% to $32.51

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Direct Energy sold for $3.63 billion

NRG Energy to acquire Direct Energy from Centrica for $3.63B in cash

NRG Energy (NRG) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with UK’s Centrica (CPYYY) under which NRG will acquire Direct Energy, a North American subsidiary of Centrica PLC for $3.63B in an all-cash transaction.

NRG Energy said in a release, “The transaction builds on NRG’s status as a growing, customer-driven integrated energy provider, adding more than three million retail customers across 50 states and Canada.

NRG goes shopping

The transaction on closing is expected to generate approximately $740M in annual run-rate Adjusted EBITDA, while enhancing free cash flow strength and stability and providing earnings diversification.

With operations in all 50 U.S. states and 6 Canadian provinces, Direct Energy is one of North America’s leading retail providers of electricity, natural gas, and home and business energy-related products and services.

Centrica sells Direct Energy

For NRG, the acquisition builds on and complements its integrated model, enabling better matching of power generation with customer demand.

It also broadens NRG’s presence into states and locales where it does not currently operate, supporting NRG’s objective to diversify its business.

The combination will deliver greater efficiencies and enable continued investment in NRG’s award-winning customer service, operational best practices and reliability.

Direct Energy fetches $3.63B

With NRG’s decades of participation in electricity markets throughout the U.S., NRG has broad insights into energy market dynamics and trends to inform innovative solutions and products for the combined company’s customers.

NRG will acquire Direct Energy for $3.63B in cash, subject to a working capital adjustment. Closing for the transaction is targeted by year end 2020.”

NRG Energy, Inc. operates as an energy company in the United States. It operates through Generation and Retail segments. The company is involved in the producing, selling, and delivering electricity and related products and services to 3.7 million residential, industrial, and commercial consumers. It generates electricity using natural gas, coal, oil, solar, nuclear, and battery storage. 

Direct Energy LP is a North American retailer of energy and energy services. The company was founded in Toronto in 1986 and now has more than four million customers in Canada and the United States. 

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National General sold for $4 billion

Allstate to acquire National General for $34.50 per share, in cash

Allstate (ALL) has agreed to acquire National General (NGHC) for approximately $4B in cash, or $34.50 per share.

The companies said in a release, “The transaction is expected to close in early 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

National General sold for $4B

National General provides a wide range of property-liability products through independent agents with a significant presence in non-standard auto insurance.

The company also has attractive Accident and Health and Lender-Placed Insurance businesses.

Gross premiums written were $5.6 billion, which generated operating income of $319 million in 2019.

National General shareholders will receive $32.00 per share in cash from Allstate, plus closing dividends expected to be $2.50 per share, providing $34.50 in total value per share.

Allstate will fund the share purchase by deploying $2.2 billion in combined cash resources and, subject to market conditions, issuing $1.5 billion of new senior debt.

Allstate expects to maintain its current share repurchase program.

National General’s board of directors has approved the transaction, which includes customary terms and conditions, including a breakup fee of $132.5 million.

A voting agreement has also been signed with entities controlling 40% of National General’s common shares to vote for the transaction.

MSD Capital, which owns approximately 7.4% of National General’s outstanding common shares, also supports the transaction.

NGHC closed at $20.41.

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Novavax receives $1.6B funding from Operation Warp Speed

Novavax soars after receiving $1.6B vaccine funding

Shares of Novavax (NVAX) soared after the company said on Tuesday morning that it has received $1.6B in funding from the federal government’s accelerated COVID-19 vaccine development program.

The company has been selected to participate in Operation Warp Speed, which aims to begin delivering millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 in 2021.

Novavax receives $1.6B funding from U.S. Government

The company said the funds will be used to complete late-stage clinical development of its vaccine candidate called NVX-CoV2373, including a Phase 3 trial, and to scale up manufacturing.

The company is aiming to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine, as early as late 2020, it said.

The agreement will fund the late-stage clinical studies necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of NVX-CoV2373, including a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial with up to 30,000 subjects beginning in the fall of 2020.

A Phase 1/2 clinical trial of NVX-CoV2373 in 130 healthy participants 18 to 59 years of age was launched in Australia in May, Novavax said, adding that preliminary immunogenicity and safety results are expected at the end of July, and the Phase 2 portion to assess immunity, safety, and COVID-19 disease reduction is expected to begin after that.

The Phase 1/2 trial is being supported by up to $388M in funding from the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations Novavax President and CEO Stanley Erck said in a statement that “The pandemic has caused an unprecedented public health crisis, making it more important than ever that industry, government and funding entities join forces to defeat the novel coronavirus together.

We are honored to partner with Operation Warp Speed to move our vaccine candidate forward with extraordinary urgency in the quest to provide vital protection to our nation’s population.”

Novavax has been awarded $1.6B by the federal government to complete late-stage clinical development, including a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial; establish large-scale manufacturing; and deliver 100M doses of NVX-CoV2373, Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as early as late 2020.

NVX-CoV2373 consists of a stable, prefusion protein made using its proprietary nanoparticle technology and includes Novavax’ proprietary Matrix-M adjuvant.

Under the terms of the agreement, Novavax will demonstrate it can rapidly stand up large-scale manufacturing and transition into ongoing production, including the capability to stockpile and distribute large quantities of NVX-CoV2373 when needed.

The agreement will fund the late-stage clinical studies necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of NVX-CoV2373, including a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial with up to 30,000 subjects beginning in the fall of 2020.

The agreement also allows for a follow-on agreement with the U.S. government for additional production and procurement to support OWS’ vaccine production goal.

This latest federal funding supports Novavax plans to file submissions for licensure with the U.S. FDA.

NVAX closed at $79.44, last traded at $105.42.

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Inovio Shares Jump on COVID-19 Data

Inovio’s COVID-19 vaccine INO-4800 generates antibodies and immune responses

Inovio (INO) announced the publication of the preclinical study data for IN0-4800, its COVID-19 DNA vaccine, demonstrating “robust” neutralizing antibody and T cell immune responses against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Inovio reports promising data, Stockwinners

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications by INOVIO scientists and collaborators from The Wistar Institute, the University of Texas, Public Health England, Fudan University, and Advaccine. Kate Broderick, Inovio’s Senior VP of R&D and Team Lead for COVID-19 vaccine development, said, “These positive preclinical results from our COVID-19 DNA vaccine not only highlight the potency of our DNA medicines platform, but also build on our previously reported positive Phase 1/2a data from our vaccine against the coronavirus that causes MERS, which demonstrated near-100% seroconversion and neutralization from a similarly designed vaccine INO-4700.

Inovio hopes its work would lead to a vaccine, Stockwinners

The potent neutralizing antibody and T cell immune responses generated in multiple animal models are supportive of our currently on-going INO-4800 clinical trials.

” The studies demonstrated that vaccination with INO-4800 generated “robust” binding and neutralizing antibody as well as T cell responses in mice and guinea pigs.

The authors demonstrated virus neutralizing activity using three separate neutralization assays testing the vaccine’s ability to generate antibodies which can block virus infection.

Study authors also detected these antibodies in the lungs of the vaccinated animals which could be important in providing protection from SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, high levels of Spike-specific T cell responses were observed with INO-4800 vaccination, which could be important in mediating protection from the virus infection.

A Phase 2/3 efficacy trial is planned to start in July/August pending regulatory approval.

PIPER Comments:

Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond noted that Inovio shares are up by a double digit percentage on the Nature Communications publication of preclinical data on the company’s CoV-19 DNA vaccine INO-4800, but he said “this isn’t new news.” The market currently has a “buy-first-ask-questions-later mentality on all things COVID,” but most of the data in this paper has been available since the pre-print in early March, said Raymond.

Additionally, while an ability to generate T-cell responses and functional neutralizing antibodies in mice and guinea pigs is important, the preclinical picture remains incomplete without non-human primate data and viral challenge data, which is needed to fully understand the potential, the analyst tells investors. Raymond, who thinks it is more prudent to reserve judgment until initial human data slated for the end of June is available, keeps a Neutral rating on Inovio shares.

INO closed at $14.50, last traded at $17.00

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Moderna shares jump on Fauci comments, possible COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna rises as Fauci comments on COVID vaccine potential highlighted

Shares of Moderna (MRNA) are trading higher, which is being attributed to comments made earlier this week by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director who has become one of the faces of the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response.

Fauci highlighted Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as well as another one in development at Oxford University, in an interview with National Geographic this week, telling the publication that he believes that the U.S. will have a vaccine ready for general use as soon as January “When we look at the immune response that you can induce with a modest dose – one that’s feasible to be translated into humans – and the amount of time it takes to get to that level of immunity, it is really quite impressive,” Fauci was quoted as saying when discussing both Moderna’s vaccine candidate and the one being developed at Oxford.

Modernal shares are higher on its vaccine potentail

“It is also really easy to scale up with these two, in the sense of making a lot of doses pretty quickly,” he reportedly added.

Dr. Fauci has been government’s leading Covid-19 expert

The interview, published two days ago, may be getting added attention after The Boston Business Journal published a recap with the headline “Fauci singles out Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine as reason for optimism” yesterday afternoon.

Moderna, Inc. (MRNA) is a clinical stage biotechnology company. It develops therapeutics and vaccines based on messenger RNA for the treatment of infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

Covid 19 has killed thousands of people worldwide

As of February 15, 2019 the company had 11 programs in clinical trials and a total of 20 development candidates in six modalities comprising prophylactic vaccines, cancer vaccines, intratumoral immuno-oncology, localized regenerative therapeutics, systemic secreted therapeutics, and systemic intracellular therapeutics. Moderna, Inc. also has a collaboration with Lonza Ltd. for the manufacture of mRNA-1273, a COVID-19 vaccine.

MRNA is up 9.5% to $53.50.

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AVX sold for about $3.7B

AVX to be acquired by Kyocera for $21.75 per share in cash

AVX Corp. (AVX) announced that Kyocera and AVX have entered into a definitive merger agreement providing for the acquisition by Kyocera of all the outstanding shares of common stock of AVX not owned by Kyocera pursuant to an all-cash tender offer for $21.75 per share, followed by a squeeze-out merger in which all of the outstanding shares of AVX common stock not tendered in the Tender Offer will be converted into the right to receive $21.75 per share of common stock, in cash.

Kyocera currently owns approximately 72% of the outstanding shares of AVX common stock.

Following completion of the Transaction, AVX will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyocera.

Kyocera buys the rest of AVX shares that it did not own, Stockwinners

The $21.75 offer price represents a 44.6% premium over AVX’s closing price on November 26, 2019 and a 42.1%, 42.4%, and 34.9% premium over AVX’s 1-, 3- and 12- month average closing share price, respectively.

As previously announced, following receipt of a proposal from Kyocera to acquire all of the outstanding shares of AVX common stock that Kyocera does not own for a price of $19.50 in cash, the AVX board of directors appointed a special committee consisting of three independent directors of AVX for purposes of evaluating and negotiating a potential transaction with Kyocera.

AVX Corp. sold to Kyocera, Stockwinners

Following the formation of the Special Committee, Kyocera and the Special Committee have been in discussions and negotiations regarding Kyocera’s proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of AVX not owned by Kyocera.

The board of AVX, acting on the recommendation of the Special Committee, has approved the Transaction and determined to recommend that the AVX stockholders tender their shares in the Tender Offer.

The Transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is not subject to any financing condition. Kyocera has announced that it currently expects the Transaction to close in the fourth quarter of Kyocera’s fiscal year ending March 2020.

The Tender Offer will be subject to customary conditions and will not be subject to any minimum condition.

AVX is a leading worldwide manufacturer, supplier, and reseller of a broad line of electronic components, interconnect, sensing and control devices, and related products. Electronic components and connector, sensing and control products manufactured or resold by AVX are used in many types of end use products, including those in telecommunications, automotive, transportation, energy harvesting, consumer electronics, military/aerospace, medical, computer, and industrial markets. 

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Unisys Federal sold for $1.2 billion

SAIC to acquire Unisys Federal for $1.2B in cash

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Unisys Federal (UIS), in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.2B, in a highly strategic and value creating transaction, the company said.

This represents a transaction multiple of approximately 10.5x CY2020 adjusted EBITDA, adjusted for the net present value of tax assets.

SAIC buys Uinsys Federal, Stockwinners

Unisys Federal, an operating unit of Unisys (UIS), is a provider of infrastructure modernization, cloud migration, managed services, and enterprise IT-as-a-service through scalable and repeatable solutions to U.S. federal civilian agencies and the Department of Defense.

SAIC expects to fund the $1.2B cash transaction through a combination of cash on hand and incremental debt.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of SAIC’s first quarter of fiscal year 2021, ending May 1, 2020, following customary closing conditions, including HSR regulatory clearance.

Unisys Federal sold to SAIC, Stockwinners

The transaction has been unanimously approved by SAIC’s Board of Directors. The businesses will continue to operate independently until the transaction closes.

“With the addition of Unisys Federal, SAIC will be a leading provider of digital transformation services and solutions to the federal government.

This exciting opportunity advances our strategy by building on our modernization capabilities, increasing customer access, accelerating growth and enhancing shareholder value,” said SAIC CEO Nazzic Keene.

“The financial benefits of acquiring Unisys Federal are compelling, including accretion of adjusted EBITDA margins, non-GAAP earnings per share, and cash generation.”

The transaction multiple of approximately 13x LTM 9/30/19 Adjusted EBITDA represents a significant premium to Unisys’ trading multiple.

Net proceeds are largely expected to be used to pay down debt and reduce pension obligations, thereby significantly improving Unisys’ balance sheet, its U.S. pension funded status and overall financial flexibility.

The transaction was unanimously approved by the Unisys board and is expected to close in the first half of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. Unisys’ U.S. Federal business represents more than 1,900 associates, with approximately $689 million in revenue for the LTM period ended September 30, 2019. 

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L3Harris Security Detection sold for $1 B

Leidos to acquire L3Harris security detection, automation businesses

Leidos (LDOS) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire L3Harris Technologies’ (LHX) security detection and automation businesses, for $1B in cash.

The boards of both companies unanimously approved the transaction. L3Harris’ security detection and automation businesses provide airport and critical infrastructure screening products, automated tray return systems and other industrial automation products.

L3Harris sells its security division for $1B, Stockwinners

With headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts and Luton, England, the combined businesses have 1,200 employees and a global sales and services operations footprint with more than 20,000 systems deployed world-wide across more than 100 countries.

The businesses serve customers in the aviation, transportation, government and critical infrastructure markets.

Leidos goes on $1B shopping spree, Stockwinners

This acquisition adds products that expand Leidos’ offerings to create a security and detection platform.

These products include checkpoint security products like checkpoint CT scanners, people scanners, comprehensive explosives trace detectors, checked baggage screeners and automated tray return systems, or ATRS.

This business expands customer penetration internationally, helping deliver on a stated objective to diversify revenue globally.

The deal will increase Leidos’ international security products revenue more than six-fold. The acquisition also enables the company to leverage technology investments across the combined portfolio to accelerate innovation and improve service efficiency for customers.

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Leidos’ revenue growth, EBITDA margins, and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share upon closing.

Leidos expects to fund the $1B cash transaction through a combination of cash on hand and incremental debt.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q2, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.

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Changyou.com sold for $579M

Changyou.com enters into definitive agreement for going private transaction

Changyou.com (CYOU) announced that it has entered into a definitive Agreement and Plan of Merger with Sohu Game, an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of Sohu.com (SOHU), and Changyou Merger, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sohu Game, pursuant to which the company will be acquired by the Sohu Group in an all-cash transaction implying an equity value of the company of approximately $579M.

Changeyou.com sold to Sohu, Stockwinners.com

Pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement, at the effective time of the Merger, each Class A ordinary share of the company issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Effective Time, other than the Excluded Shares, will be cancelled and cease to exist, in exchange for the right to receive $5.40 in cash without interest, and each outstanding American depositary share of the company, other than the ADSs representing the Excluded Shares, will be cancelled in exchange for the right to receive $10.80 in cash without interest.

Sohu buys Changeyou.com, Stockwinners

The Merger Consideration represents a premium of 82.4% to the closing price of the company’s ADSs on September 6, 2019, the last trading day prior to the company’s announcement of its receipt of the “going-private” proposal, and a premium of 70.1% to the average closing price of the company’s ADSs during the 30 trading days prior to its receipt of the “going-private” proposal.

The Sohu Group intends to fund the Merger primarily with debt financing.

The Sohu Group has delivered a copy of an executed debt commitment letter to the company pursuant to which Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Tokyo Branch will provide, subject to the terms and conditions set forth therein, an amount sufficient to fund in full the consummation of Merger and the other transactions related thereto.

The company’s board, acting upon the unanimous recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors established by the board, approved the Merger Agreement and the Merger.

The Special Committee negotiated the terms of the Merger Agreement with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors.

Because the Sohu Group owns over 90% of the voting power represented by all issued and outstanding shares of the company, the Merger will be in the form of a short-form merger of Merger Co. with and into Changyou in accordance with section 233(7) of the Companies Law of the Cayman Islands, with Changyou being the company surviving the Merger.

Shareholder approval of the Merger Agreement and the Merger is not required.

The Merger is currently expected to close in Q2 of 2020. If completed, the Merger will result in the company becoming a privately-owned company wholly owned directly and indirectly by Sohu, its ADSs will no longer be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, and the ADS program will be terminated.

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Watch Jazz Pharmaceuticals!

Jazz Pharmaceuticals receives EU Marketing Authorization for Sunosi

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) announced that the European Commission approved Sunosi to improve wakefulness and reduce excessive daytime sleepiness in adults with narcolepsy or obstructive sleep apnea whose EDS has not been satisfactorily treated by primary OSA therapy, such as continuous positive airway pressure.

Jazz should be in play, Stockwinners

Sunosi is the first dual-acting dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor approved to treat EDS in adults living with narcolepsy or OSA and the only licensed therapy in the European Union for the treatment of EDS in adults living with OSA.

Once-daily Sunosi is approved with doses of 75 mg and 150 mg for people with narcolepsy and doses of 37.5 mg, 75 mg and 150 mg for patients with OSA.

Sunosi is approved in Europe, Stockwinners

At Week 12 of the Phase 3 clinical trial, 150 mg of solriamfetol for narcolepsy patients and both 75 mg and 150 mg doses for OSA patients demonstrated improvements in wakefulness compared to placebo as assessed via the maintenance of wakefulness test from approximately one hour post-dose through approximately nine hours post-dose.

The European Commission approval extends to all European Union Member States, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The Marketing Authorization Application for Sunosi is based on data from four randomized placebo-controlled studies included in the Treatment of Obstructive sleep apnea and Narcolepsy Excessive Sleepiness clinical trial program.

Data from the studies in the TONES program demonstrated the superiority of solriamfetol relative to placebo.

The Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) for Sunosi is based on data from four randomised placebo-controlled studies included in the Treatment of Obstructive sleep apnea and Narcolepsy Excessive Sleepiness (TONES) clinical trial program. Data from the studies in the TONES program demonstrated the superiority of solriamfetol relative to placebo.

JAZZ closed at $151.05.

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Anixter sold for $4.5 billion

Wesco to acquire Anixter in cash, stock deal valued at $4.5B

WESCO (WCC) and Anixter (AXE) announced that their boards of directors have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which WESCO will acquire Anixter in a transaction valued at approximately $4.5 billion.

Anixter’s prior agreement to be acquired by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, has been terminated, following CD&R’s waiver of its matching rights under the agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, each share of Anixter common stock will be converted into the right to receive $70.00 in cash, 0.2397 shares of WESCO common stock and preferred stock consideration valued at $15.89, based on the value of its liquidation preference.

Based on the closing price of WESCO’s common stock on January 10 and the liquidation preference of the WESCO preferred stock consideration, the total consideration represents approximately $100 per Anixter share, giving effect to the downside protection described below.

Based on transaction structure and the number of shares of WESCO and Anixter common stock currently outstanding, it is anticipated that WESCO stockholders will own 84%, and Anixter stockholders 16%, of the combined company.

The combined company will have pro forma 2019 revenues of approximately $17 billion.

With an extensive global reach and increased international exposure, approximately 12% of revenues will be generated outside of North America.

Anixter sold to Wesco, Stockwinners

The increased scale will enable the combined company to accelerate digitization strategies and provide a platform for growth in attractive emerging markets.

WESCO expects to realize annualized run-rate cost synergies of over $200 million by the end of year three through efficiencies in corporate and regional overhead, including duplicative public company costs, branch and distribution center optimization, and productivity in procurement, field operations, and supply chain. In addition, WESCO expects incremental sales growth opportunities to result by cross-selling the companies’ complementary product and services offerings to an expanded customer base and capitalizing on the enhanced capabilities across both networks.

The combination is expected to be accretive to WESCO’s earnings in the first full year of ownership and, with the realization of synergies, substantially accretive thereafter.

WESCO also expects the transaction to generate significant margin expansion and EPS growth.

The combined company will have strong free cash flow generation, supporting continued investments in the business and enabling a return of capital to stockholders in the future.

Wesco to buy Anixter, Stockwinners

At closing, WESCO estimates that its pro forma leverage on a net debt to EBITDA basis will be approximately 4.5x.

WESCO intends to utilize the strength of the combined company’s cash flows, including significant synergies, to reduce its leverage quickly and ultimately intends to be within its long-term target leverage range of 2.0x to 3.5x within 24 months post-close.

Under the terms of the agreement, each share of Anixter common stock will be converted into the right to receive $70.00 in cash, 0.2397 shares of WESCO common stock, and preferred stock consideration consisting of 0.6356 depositary shares, each whole share representing a fractional interest in a newly created series of WESCO perpetual preferred stock.

The common stock consideration is subject to downside protection, such that if the average market value of WESCO common stock prior to closing is between $47.10 per share and $58.88 per share, then the cash consideration paid at closing will be increased commensurately by up to $2.82 per share, such that the reduction in value of the WESCO common stock is offset by an increase in the cash consideration within that range. $2.82 per share will also be paid if the value of WESCO stock is below $47.10.

The preferred stock consideration consists of 0.6356 depositary shares, with each whole depositary share representing a 1/1,000th interest in a share of WESCO Series A cumulative perpetual preferred stock, with a liquidation preference of $25,000 per preferred share and a fixed dividend rate calculated based on a spread of 325 basis points over the prevailing unsecured notes to be issued to effect the transaction.

The fixed dividend rate will be subject to reset and the Series A preferred stock will have a five year non-call feature.

WESCO has agreed to list the depositary shares representing the newly created series of preferred stock on the NYSE, and the security is expected to receive equity treatment from the rating agencies.

The 0.6356 depositary share to be issued in the merger per share of Anixter common stock is valued at $15.89 based on the liquidation preference of the underlying interest in the Series A preferred stock represented thereby.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, WESCO may elect to substitute additional cash consideration to reduce the amount of the preferred stock consideration on a dollar-for-dollar basis based on the value of the liquidation preference of the preferred stock consideration. WESCO and Anixter currently anticipate completing the transaction during the second or third quarter of 2020.

WESCO International, Inc. distributes electrical, industrial, and communications maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) and original equipment manufacturers products and construction materials in North America and internationally. 

Anixter International Inc. distributes enterprise cabling and security solutions, electrical and electronic wire and cable solutions, and utility power solutions worldwide. 

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Hexcel and Woodward merge to form Woodward Hexcel

Hexcel, Woodward announce merger of equals

Woodward (WWD) and Hexcel (HXL) announced a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger of equals “to create a premier integrated systems provider serving the aerospace and industrial sectors,” the companies said.

Woodward and Hexcel agree to merge, Stockwinners

Under the terms of the agreement approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, Hexcel shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.625 shares of Woodward common stock for each share of Hexcel common stock, and Woodward shareholders will continue to own the same number of shares of common stock in the combined company as they do immediately prior to the closing.

Hexcel and Woodward to merge, Stockwinners

The exchange ratio is consistent with the 30-day average share prices of both companies.

Upon completion of the merger, existing Woodward shareholders will own approximately 55% and existing Hexcel shareholders will own approximately 45% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.

In connection with the transaction, Woodward is increasing its quarterly cash dividend to 28c a share.

The merger is expected to be tax free for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

The combined company will be named Woodward Hexcel.

For each company’s respective fiscal year 2019 on a pro forma basis, the combined company is expected to generate net revenues of approximately $5.3B and EBITDA of $1.1B, or a 21% EBITDA margin.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the shareholders of both Woodward and Hexcel, as well as other customary closing conditions, including required regulatory approvals.

The parties expect the merger to close in the third calendar quarter of 2020, subject to satisfaction of these conditions.

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Axsome Therapeutics reports positive migraine data

Axsome Therapeutics announces AXS-07 met primary, secondary endpoints

Axsome Therapeutics (AXSM) announced that AXS-07, Axsome’s novel, oral, multi-mechanistic investigational medicine for the acute treatment of migraine, met the two regulatory co-primary endpoints and significantly improved migraine pain and most bothersome symptoms as compared to placebo in the MOMENTUM Phase 3 trial.

Axsome reports positive migraine data, Stockwinners

AXS-07 also met the key secondary endpoint, demonstrating statistically significant superiority to the active comparator rizatriptan on sustained freedom from migraine pain.

MOMENTUM was a randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled trial which enrolled only patients with a history of inadequate response to prior acute migraine treatments, assessed using the Migraine Treatment Optimization Questionnaire, or mTOQ-4.

A total of 1,594 patients were randomized in a 2:2:2:1 ratio to AXS-07, rizatriptan, MoSEIC, meloxicam, or placebo, to treat a single migraine attack of moderate or severe intensity.

In addition to a history of inadequate response, enrolled patients exhibited a high rate of characteristics that are strongly associated with poor treatment outcomes including cutaneous allodynia, severe migraine pain intensity, obesity and morning migraine.

The study was conducted pursuant to a FDA special protocol assessment, or SPA.

AXS-07 met the two regulatory co-primary endpoints by demonstrating, with high statistical significance, a greater percentage of patients as compared to placebo achieving pain freedom and absence of most bothersome symptom two hours after dosing.

Superiority of AXS-07 to rizatriptan and MoSEIC meloxicam was established as specified in the SPA, by demonstration of a greater percentage of AXS-07 patients achieving sustained pain freedom from two to 24 hours after dosing, compared to rizatriptan and MoSEIC meloxicam, as well as to placebo.

The positive results on both co-primary endpoints along with the demonstration of component contribution support the filing of an NDA for AXS-07 in the acute treatment of migraine.

AXS-07 provided greater and more sustained migraine pain relief compared to placebo and rizatriptan, which translated to a significant reduction in rescue medication use for AXS-07 compared to placebo and rizatriptan.

The percentage of patients experiencing sustained pain relief from two to 24 hours after dosing was 53.3% for AXS-07, compared to 33.5% for placebo and 43.9% for rizatriptan.

Sustained pain relief from two to 48 hours was also experienced by a statistically significantly greater proportion of AXS-07 patients, compared to placebo and rizatriptan patients.

Rescue medication was used by 23.0% of AXS-07 patients, compared to 43.5% of placebo and 34.7% of rizatriptan patients. AXS-07 provided rapid relief of migraine pain with the percentage of patients achieving pain relief with AXS-07 being numerically greater than with rizatriptan at every time point measured starting at 15 minutes, and statistically significantly greater than with rizatriptan by 60 minutes.

The proportions of patients experiencing pain relief 1.5 hours after dosing were 60.5% for AXS-07 compared to 52.5% for rizatriptan and 48.3% for placebo.

AXS-07 was statistically significantly superior to rizatriptan on several other secondary endpoints including Patient Global Impression of Change and return to normal functioning at 24 hours.

AXS-07 was safe and well tolerated in the trial.

The most commonly reported adverse events with AXS-07 were nausea, dizziness and somnolence, none of which occurred at a rate greater than placebo or greater than 3%.

There was one serious adverse event in the AXS-07 arm which was deemed by the investigator not to be related to study drug.

The MOMENTUM study was conducted pursuant to an SPA with the FDA.

The SPA provides agreement that the overall MOMENTUM trial design and planned analysis adequately address objectives that, if met, will support the regulatory submission for approval of AXS-07 for the indication of acute treatment of migraine in adults with or without aura.

Based on FDA feedback, Axsome believes that MOMENTUM will be the only efficacy trial required to support an NDA filing for AXS-07 for the acute treatment of migraine.

Axsome plans to file the NDA in the second half of 2020. AXS-07 is a novel, oral, rapidly absorbed, multi-mechanistic investigational medicine for the acute treatment of migraine, consisting of MoSEIC meloxicam and rizatriptan.

AXS-07 is thought to act by inhibiting CGRP release, reversing CGRP-mediated vasodilation, and inhibiting neuro-inflammation, pain signal transmission, and central sensitization.

Axsome’s MoSEIC technology significantly increases the speed of absorption of the meloxicam component after oral administration while maintaining a long plasma half-life.

AXS-07 is covered by 21 issued U.S. and international patents providing protection out to 2036, and Axsome maintains worldwide rights.

Detailed study results, including additional secondary endpoints, will be submitted for presentation at upcoming medical meetings and for publication.

AXS-07 is also being evaluated in the INTERCEPT Phase 3 trial which is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the early treatment of migraine with AXS-07.

In contrast to the ongoing MOMENTUM trial in which patients with a history of inadequate response treated migraine attacks once they have become of moderate or severe intensity, in the INTERCEPT trial, patients are to administer AXS-07 at the earliest sign of migraine pain.

AXSM closed at $101.98.

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Felix Energy sold for $2.5 billion

WPX Energy acquires Felix Energy for $2.5B

WPX Energy (WPX) “is taking another significant step in its commitment to delivering shareholder value” with the $2.5B purchase of Felix Energy, “one of the highest quality Delaware Basin operators.”

Felix has approximately 1,500 gross undeveloped locations in the eastern portion of the basin, with expected production of approximately 60 MBoe/d (70% oil) at the time of anticipated closing. WPX plans to implement a dividend post-closing, targeting approximately $0.10 per share on an annualized basis at initiation.

WPX buys Felix Energy for $2.5B, Stockwinners

WPX Energy, Inc., an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, engages in the exploitation and development of unconventional properties in the United States. The company operates 657 wells and owns interests in 808 wells covering an area of approximately 130,000 net acres located in Delaware Basin, Texas and New Mexico; and operates 323 wells and owns interests in 87 wells that covers an area of approximately 85,087 net acres situated in the Williston Basin, North Dakota. 

Felix Energy sold for $2.5B, Stockwinners

The acquisition and dividend program follow other steps WPX took in 2019 to enhance its value proposition, including reducing net debt, executing attractive midstream monetizations, launching a share buyback program and generating free cash flow.

The purchase price consists of $900M cash, subject to closing adjustments, and $1.6B in WPX stock issued to the seller.

WPX plans to fund the cash portion through issuance of $900M of senior notes on an opportunistic basis.

WPX also has obtained committed financing from Barclays in connection with the transaction and has full access to a $1.5B revolving credit facility.

The stock consideration comprises approximately 153M WPX shares, which is based on the 10-day volume-weighted average price as of Dec. 13.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and approval by WPX shareholders. The parties anticipate closing the transaction early in the second quarter of 2020.

WPX’s board unanimously approved the transaction.

The acquisition is consistent with all of the tenets in WPX’s five-year vision for shareholders that the company introduced in November during its third-quarter report.

On a pro forma basis, WPX expects to generate significant free cash flow in 2020 at $50 oil.

Following the acquisition, cash flow per share, EPS, free cash flow per share, return on capital employed, and cash margins are all expected to increase.

WPX also expects to continue its opportunistic share buybacks, to implement the previously mentioned dividend program, and to reduce its leverage to 1.0x by year-end 2021.

WPX based all of its transaction economics on $50 oil, with no assumptions for improvements in development costs or operating efficiencies. However, WPX believes significant upside exists by capturing synergies associated with scale.

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