Healthcare Review: Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Myriad Genetics, Cytokinetics, Seattle Genetics, ImmunoGen Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 11 October 2013 14:26
U.S. stocks edged up in choppy trading on Friday following the biggest rally in more than nine months as both sides in Washington worked for a solution to a possible U.S. default and an end to a partial government shutdown. Uncertainty about whether progress will be made over the weekend could be contributing to Friday's caution. Signs of a potential short-term deal emerged on Thursday, boosting stocks, but no agreement has yet been reached.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals ($ARIA ) takes another big hit on the heels of Wednesday's rout. he FDA posted a drug safety communication on Iclusig today which contained the following rather disconcerting language: "FDA is investigating an increasing frequency of reports of serious and life-threatening blood clots and severe narrowing of blood vessels of patients taking ponatinib ... including heart attacks resulting in death, worsening coronary artery disease, stroke, narrowing of large arteries of the brain, severe narrowing of blood vessels in the extremities, and the need for urgent surgical procedures to restore blood flow."

Myriad Genetics ($MYGN -6%) slides as SunTrust raises pricing questions (something MYGN investors certainly do not want to hear about)."The most imminent threat from new competitors for BRACAnalysis is not market share, buy pricing pressures," analyst Amit Hazan says, adding that "private insurer re-evaluation is currently ongoing ... and could realistically drive the price down by as much as 50% over the next two years." MYGN initiated at Reduce.

Cytokinetics ($CYTK) rallies after Needham's Chad Messer reminds investors that despite a misread by the media, last month's ATOMIC-AHF readout was actually in line with expectations. "Significant increases in systolic injection and reduction in worsening of heart failure while actually lowering heart rate, distinguish omecamtiv from older inotropic agents [and] are more than positive enough for Amgen (AMGN) to proceed with a Phase 3 study next year, triggering a milestone payment to CYTK shareholders," Messer notes, downplaying the overall dypsnea response miss. Price target raised to $25 from $20.

Shares of Seattle Genetics ($SGEN) are notably weaker in morning trading. In a press release, the company highlighted some data from ongoing clinical trials for the relapsed/ refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment Adcetris. In one investigator-sponsored Phase 2 trial enrolling seven untreated advanced stage HL patients, the company said that after two cycles of treatment, "all patients experienced Grade 3 or higher adverse events, including neutropenia (three patients), diarrhea (three patients), infection (two patients) and pancreatitis (two patients)."SGEN noted that in this particular trial, "one patient death occurred due to acute pancreatitis."

Shares of ImmunoGen ($IMGN) are up 5% as investors are apparently reacting to a short press release the company put out today, announcing that Novartis (NVS) has taken a second license under the companies' 2010 TAP collaboration agreement.

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