Healthcare Review: Pro-Dex, AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Evoke Pharma, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Aetna Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:47

U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, as investors played off a mixed bag of company earnings, while the dollar held steady against most major currencies ahead of next week's Federal Reserve meeting, where another cut in stimulus is seen possible.

Treasuries prices fell and benchmark yields edged up from five-week lows, with prices dragged lower by weaker German government debt. On Wall Street, IBM missed revenue expectations for a fourth straight quarter, driving down shares of the world's largest technology services company by nearly 4 percent, making them the biggest drag on the market.

Pro-Dex ($PDEX) shares spike after SA Pro's Valuable Insights lays out the bull case (under embargo until 11:15am ET tomorrow) for the name, arguing in part that, "recent results understate baseline normalized earnings. On the basis of current baseline normalized earnings, shares are significantly undervalued."

AMAG Pharmaceuticals ($AMAG) shares are off sharply after the FDA issues a complete response letter denying the company's supplemental NDA for Feraheme, which had sought to expand the drug's indication beyond chronic kidney disease. The FDA stated that AMAG had not provided sufficient information on safe and effective use for the additional indications and suggested the company generate additional clinical data. AMAG intends to "work with the FDA to determine the best regulatory path for Feraheme" in the broader IDA patient population.

Evoke Pharma's ($EVOK) shares soar 29% after a Phase IIb study shows that the company's intranasal delivery of metoclopramide is better at managing the symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis compared with the pill version. Gastroparesis is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. Metoclopramide is used to relieve feelings of nausea or vomiting. Evoke plans to start a Phase III trial soon.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals ($KERX) will sell $90M in shares (15% overallotment) in a public offering. The company intends to use proceeds to fund inventory build-up and commercial activities relating to Zerenex, development of Zerenex in pre-dialysis, and other corporate purposes.

Aetna ($AET) CEO Mark Bertolini tells CNBC that the company could be forced to withdraw from Obamacare, which makes up 3% of its revenue. Aetna is due to submit its 2015 Obamacare rates in mid-May. "Are they going to be double-digit (increases) or are we going to get beat up because they're double-digit or are we just going to have to pull out of the program?" Bertolini says. "Those questions can't be answered until we see the population we have today. And we really don't have a good view on that."

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