Healthcare Review: Gilead Sciences, Molina Healthcare, Seattle Genetics, Omeros, Oramed Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:38
U.S. stocks bounced off a technical support level on Wednesday, after the S&P 500 hit its lowest level since mid-October, although mixed data gave investors few reasons to buy equities. In a volatile trading session, the benchmark S&P index hit a session low of 1,737.92, marking its lowest level since Oct. 18, before rebounding to briefly climb into positive territory. U.S. data is being closely watched after a weak reading in the factory sector on Monday sent Wall Street into a tailspin and triggered a global equity selloff. Wednesday's data left investors with little clarity about the economic impact from the harsh weather this winter.

Gilead Sciences ($GILD) is sharply lower despite issuing strong Q4 results, as investors appear focused on the company's forecast which didn’t include projections for its new Sovaldi hepatitis-C drug. ISI Group says the failure to give Sovaldi sales guidance is worrying investors, even though GILD is known to be conservative; he also says operating expense guidance for 2014 was higher than anticipated, and the company has changed its tune about who is taking Sovaldi, perhaps suggesting an increased risk of a sales slowdown later this year before the Sovaldi/ledispavir launch. Elliot Favus offers some reasons to sell the stock, including little margin for error for the Sovaldi launch with expectations already sky high, and a shareholder base which has become too generalized and don't understand hepatitis-C.

Molina Healthcare ($MOH) is awarded a contract to participate in a dual eligible demonstration project in Los Angeles County with the California Department of Health Care Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Wedbush Morgan says the surprise contract win could boost MOH's 2014 EPS by 15%-25%; MOH is on the firm's Best Ideas list due to underappreciated growth in several Medicaid contracts.

Seattle Genetics ($SGEN) says partner Takeda Pharmaceutical has achieved $100M in sales for Seattle's Adcetris lymphoma drug. As a result, Seattle will receive a $5M milestone payment. The announcement comes ahead of Seattle's Feb. 11 Q4 report. In November, the company forecast 2013 Adcetris net sales of $140M-$145M; the drug is now available in 39 countries.

Omeros ($OMER) says the FDA granted fast-track status to its OMS824 experimental treatment for cognitive impairment in patients with Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that affects the brain.OMER expects to begin enrolling patients this quarter in its Phase 2 trial evaluating OMS824 for Huntington's disease.

Seeking Alpha author Sharon de Stefano jumps to Oramed's ($ORMP) defense after the tongue lashing the company received from Adam Feuerstein over Phase IIa trial results sent its shares into a tailspin. Feuerstein focused on a chart which showed what appeared to be high rates of adverse events. However, de Stefano accuses Feuerstein of not distinguishing between the levels of those events, and implies that he doesn't know what he's talking about. "Clinical data is often difficult for physicians to interpret, much less laymen, and jumping to inaccurate conclusions is not uncommon," de Stefano writes.

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