Healthcare Review: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Atossa Genetics, PTC Therapeutics, Intuitive Surgical Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 24 January 2014 15:39

U.S. stocks slumped, joining a two-day selloff in global equities, as continued volatility in emerging-market stocks and currencies prompted investors to flee riskier assets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 200 points, or 1.2%, to 15998 in midday trading. The index fell below 16000 in intraday trade for the first time since Dec. 18. On Thursday, the Dow slumped 176 points. Concerns about China's economy, global central bank stimulus and U.S. corporate earnings led to selling in risky assets this week. The degree of volatility in global stocks, bonds and currencies caught some investors wrong-footed, traders said.


Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) seemed on its way to gains after reporting improved Q4 earnings and a better than expected 6% rise in revenue, helped by strong growth in cancer drug sales, but shares have skidded since BMY said in its earnings call that it isn’t ready to move ahead with a study of a combination cancer treatment that includes its top pipeline prospect.Investors had been intently watching whether BMY would move forward with a final stage trial in lung cancer of the experimental medicine nivolumab and Yervoy, a drug already on the market; nivolumab is expected to be a blockbuster, due partly to its strong performance in earlier clinical trials, and a combination with Yervoy could work even better and raise BMY’s revenue substantially.


Ariad Pharmaceuticals ($ARIA) is trading near the best levels of the session following an intraday upgrade from BMO Capital's Jim Birchenough, who raised his rating to Outperform from Market Perform with a $14 price target (from $8).The analyst sees significant value in the company's assets and he believes it will attract interest from large pharmaceutical companies.


Atossa Genetics ($ATOS) opens sharply lower on its plan to offer shares and warrants to raise proceeds for general corporate purposes including the development of the company’s breast health testing products.ATOS is pricing a public offering of ~5.8M units at $2.40 each.

PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) -18.1% on news that a committee of the European Medicines Agency did not recommend conditional approval for its drug for the treatment of muscular dystrophy.PTCT says the decision underscores the importance of its Phase 3 clinical trial, which is on track to complete enrollment in mid-2014 with top-line data expected in mid-2015; PTCT intends to request a re-examination of the opinion with a final outcome expected in Q2 2014.


Sell-side analysts aren't happy with the lack of revenue guidance offered by Intuitive Surgical ($ISRG) after its Q4 earnings report.J.P. Morgan says the earnings call was a disappointment, and that the 2014 outlook is murkier than just a week ago.Morgan Stanley says its expectations for guidance were muted, but its below consensus 2014 EPS outlook is coming down another 10%.

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