Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Seattle Genetics, CytRx, Catalyst Pharmaceutical, Forest Labs Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:53
U.S. stocks fluctuated after minutes from the Federal Reserve showed officials expressed concern about risks to financial stability, while data on payrolls was better-than-forecast. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 1,837.43 at 2:35 p.m. in New York. The equities benchmark climbed 30 percent last year, the most since 1997. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 71.41 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,459.53. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 24 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day.

Shares of Questcor Pharmaceuticals ($QCOR) are off sharply in early trading. Predictably, market chatter suggests the move may be attributable to CDF co-payment assistance issues.

Seattle Genetics ($SGEN) has further expanded its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) collaboration with AbbVie ($ABBV), which will pay $25M upfront for additional rights to use Seattle's technology to develop cancer drugs. Seattle Genetics could also receive up to $255M in potential license fees and milestone payments, as well as royalties on sales of any products. Seattle Genetics has similar agreements with other major pharma players, including Bayer and Roche's Genentech.

CytRx ($CYTR) is out with more data in support of aldoxorubicin efficacy. The "additional statistical analyses" of the Phase 2b study determined the hazard ratios on the PFS endpoint: HR for investigator-read scans, 0.37; HR for central lab scans, 0.59.The company also says a Kaplan-Meier analysis "showed significant improvement in subjects treated with aldoxorubicin versus subjects treated with doxorubicin."

Catalyst Pharmaceutical ($CPRX) rallies 15% after the company says a jointly funded study with BioMarin ($BMRN) to examine the cardiac safety of Firdapse hit its primary endpoint. "At and above therapeutic levels, there was no effect of Firdapse on heart rate or cardiac depolarization," CPRX says. The company hopes the results "will continue to work toward making Firdapse available to patients in the U.S."

As tipped earlier, Forest Labs ($FRX) is acquiring Aptalis from TPG (which has a 91% stake) and the company's other shareholders for $2.9B in cash. FRX calls the deal "an excellent strategic and financial fit" and says it should be able to recognize "$125M in cost synergies from combining the two companies." The addition, the transaction will add some $700M to FRX's revenue and around $0.78 to FY2015 non-GAAP EPS. For more on Aptalis' financials, see here. FRX has secured a $1.9B bridge facility for the deal and says it will "consider initiating the [previously announced] accelerated share repurchase program" once the acquisition is complete.

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