Healthcare Review: Coventry Health Care & Alexza Pharmaceuticals Rise, Aetna Inc Falls On News Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Monday, 20 August 2012 00:00

icon_SectorWatchU.S. stocks retreated on Monday after European officials debunked a reported plan to cap European bond yields. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. Several healthcare stocks are making notable news at mid day on Monday:

Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA) shares gained 5.75% to $4.23 in the morning hour. JMP Securities reiterated their outperform rating on shares of Alexza Pharmaceuticals last week and the firm currently has a $12.00 target price on the stock. The company is a pharmaceutical company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of products for the acute treatment of central nervous system (CNS) conditions.

Pharmacyclics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PCYC) shares declined 2.53% to $61.31 in the morning hour after the shares of Pharmacyclics was downgraded by analysts at Roth Capital from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research report issued today.

Additionally, the company said the enrollment of a fifth patient in a clinical trial for a non-Hodgkins lymphoma treatment has triggered another $50 million milestone payment from Janssen Biotech Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

Affymax, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFY) stock gained 2.83% to $17.44. On August 8, 2012, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. (TPUSA) and Affymax, Inc. announced that Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. (TPA) has entered into a supply agreement for sourcing and supply of OMONTYS(R) (peginesatide) Injection with U.S. Renal Care, Inc. and certain of its affiliates, representing one of the top 10 dialysis providers in the United States (U.S.). OMONTYS is the only once-monthly erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) for anemia available to the dialysis patient population with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the U.S.

Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) stock fell 0.94% to $59.81. Novartis said on August 15 that its experimental drug does well in clinical trial for age-related eye disease. The drug, called ocriplasmin--to be sold by Belgium drug maker ThromboGenics NV (THR.BT) in the U.S. and Novartis AG (NVS) elsewhere--helped improve vision in people suffering from vitreomacular adhesion, or VMA, a condition in which the jelly-like substance in the center of the eye called vitreous adheres abnormally strongly to the retina, causing visual problems and even blindness.

Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) shares climbed 4.07% to $39.59 in the early hour after Aetna Inc and Coventry Health Care, Inc.(NYSE:CVH), Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Aetna will acquire Coventry in a transaction valued at $7.3 billion, including the assumption of Coventry debt. Under the terms of the agreement, Coventry stockholders will receive $27.30 in cash and 0.3885 Aetna common shares for each Coventry share, or $42.08 per share, based on the closing price of Aetna common shares on August 17, 2012. Shares of CVH jumped 19%.

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