Healthcare Review: MGC Diagnostics, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Teva, Sanofi-Aventis Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 30 August 2013 13:07
Stocks and oil fell on Friday as lackluster U.S. economic data moderated expectations of a reduction soon of the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus program, and as the chances weakened of an imminent Western military strike against Syria. The U.S. dollar rose to a four-week high against a basket of major currencies on Friday, helped by persistent uncertainty about Syria and a weak euro which fell after data showed benign inflation and elevated unemployment in the euro zone.

MGC Diagnostics (MGCD) puts up a big gain today despite a weak overall market, after its FQ3 EPS easily topped estimates, turning to profit from a loss in the prior year period.Total evenue grew by 15% over Q312.Service revenue +29% on a year-over-year basis, while service gross margin improved to 70.8%, compared to 65.3% in Q312.Overall gross margin improved 170 basis points to 55.4%, compared to 53.7% in last year's third quarter.Attachment Rate of point-of-sale extended service contracts grew to 26%, compared to 3% in the prior year period.

Astex Pharmaceuticals (ASTX) is notably weak today after running up ~25% on Wednesday following topline data from a Phase 2 trial of SGI-110.Not helping the stock's cause is an article from theStreet's Adam Feuerstein who takes issue with RBC analyst Michael Yee's bullish thesis."Concluding that SGI-110 is better than Dacogen [another ASTX product which is licensed to Eisai (ESALF.PK)] based on an interim look at just 17 patients is silly," Feuerstein says, adding that the observed 53% response rate in the cohort of elderly patients with treatment-naive AML "will not hold up once the cohort ... reaches full enrollment."

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (TKMR) bucks a weak tape to trade higher today after saying it's had two articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals - the Journal of Infectious Diseases and New England Journal of Medicine - highlighting positive results enabled by TKMR's lipid nanoparticle technology.The company says the arcticles provide "robust proof of concept" for RNAi therapy, indicating the first report of complete post-exposure protection against the most pathogenic strain of Marburg virus.

Teva (TEVA) releases top-line results from a Phase 3 study of armodafinilin in major depression associated with bipolar I disorder.The study did not meet the primary endpoint of determining "whether armodafinil treatment (150mg per day) is more effective than placebo as adjunct therapy to mood stabilizers and/or atypical antipsychotics."The company says it will not go forward with regulatory filings for "armodafinil" in this indication.

Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) subsidiary Genzyme says the European Commission has granted marketing authorization for Aubagio a once-daily, oral therapy for the treatment of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.Aubagio is already approved to treat relapsing MS in the U.S., Australia, Argentina, Chile and South Korea, and is currently under review by additional regulatory agencies in other countries as well.

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