Healthcare Review: Celldex Therapeutics, Sarepta, CorMedix, Zoetis, Vivus Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 05 July 2013 14:23
U.S. stocks rose in early trading on Friday as U.S. June payrolls data came in much stronger than expected, though investors questioned what the report meant for the timing of the Federal Reserve's stimulus program. About 195,000 jobs were added in the month, above expectations for 165,000. There were also positive revisions to previous months, and the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent. Analysts were looking for it to move to 7.5 percent.

Shares of Celldex Therapeutics (CLDX) soar yet again on heavy volume and look set to close out the week with gains of more than 30%. Among the week's catalysts include an initiation at Guggenheim and the company's announcement that it has dosed the first patient in a CDX-1135 pilot study of dense deposit disease. In options action, volume looks heavily skewed to the call side at least for several near-the-money July and August strikes.

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) slips 3.79% premarket on the heels of a pre-holiday announcement regarding an at-the-market equity offering agreement with Further Lane Securities under which the company may sell shares worth up to $125M in order to fund general corporate purposes including activities related to eteplirsen.

CorMedix (CRMD) receives CE Mark approval for its catheter lock solution Neutrolin which has been shown to prevent bloodstream infections. The device will launch in Germany and Austria initially and the company says it is "poised to pursue a regulatory strategy for approval in the United States."

BofA's Zoetis (ZTS) upgrade which has the shares trading solidly higher on the session: Analyst Robert Willoughby likes the prospects for EBITDA margin improvement in the coming years as a new ERP system and "changes in manufacturing and supply chain processes" should help reduce inventory.

Vivus (VVUS) says both ISS and Glass Lewis recommend shareholders reject First Manhattan's attempt to take control of the company, although ISS recommends a vote for three of the hedge fund's director nominees. In a report, Glass Lewis says it seems "unlikely that adding dissident nominees to the Company's board would lead to a more favorable regulatory outcome" for Qsymia, while ISS notes that most of First Manhattan's nominees "do not have any experience in obesity drugs." On the other hand, Egan Jones recommends shareholders vote for all nine of First Manhattan's nominees. (Also: First Manhattan talks CEO candidates, NYT profiles "minuscule sales").

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