Healthcare Review: Aceto, Cytokinetics, Myriad Genetics, Athenahealth, Ariad Pharmaceuticals Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 07 February 2014 13:48
U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, setting the S&P 500 on track for its first weekly gain in four as a weak reading on the labor market was partly blamed on the weather and traders focused on expectations of further economic strength. Nonfarm payrolls added 113,000 jobs in January. Economists had forecast a gain of 185,000. December payrolls were revised upward by only 1,000 to 75,000. The U.S. unemployment rate in January hit a five-year low of 6.6 percent. That rate is just above the 6.5 percent level that Fed officials have said would prompt them to consider raising benchmark interest rates from near zero.

Aceto ($ACET) says financial media outlets have misreported that the company missed revenue forecasts by $30.5M; in fact, revenue in the most recent quarter rose 2.2% Y/Y to $116.5M, which was $2.7M below the correct estimate. ACET says reported EPS of $0.24 was in line with estimates and a 41% Y/Y increase.

Cytokinetics ($CYTK) skyrockets higher after Q4 results beat estimates on the top and bottom line, with revenue growth of more than 1,000%.Q4 EPS of $0.22 beat expectations of an $0.08 loss, while revenues rose 1,012% Y/Y to $24.3M vs. $19.1M analyst consensus estimate. CYTK says it expects to announce results from BENEFIT-ALS in the next few months, and is preparing for potential next steps in the development program for tirasemtiv and the planned advancement of omecamtiv mecarbil into the final expansion phase of COSMIC-HF.

Myriad Genetics ($MYGN) has settled a patent suit against fellow diagnostic testing firm Gene by Gene. As part of the deal, Gene by Gene will stop selling diagnostic tests in North America (but not elsewhere) that "include analysis of the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes as a standalone test or in conjunction with gene panels."Gene by Gene will continue selling its whole genome/exome products in North America, as well as "custom array products that test variants for inherited Mendelian disorders." Myriad has sued a slew of companies for allegedly infringing its BRCA1/BRCA2 gene testing IP.

Athenahealth ($ATHN) +17.1%, approaching an all-time high near $162, after reporting Q4 earnings that more than doubled from the same period last year, reflecting improved margins and a 48% rise in revenue. Results were well ahead of analyst expectations on all key financial metrics; the revenue beat was primarily driven by better performance within the Epocrates business, while a lower tax rate and higher gross margins explain the EPS upside.Q4 adjusted operating margin expanded 300 bps to 19.9% from last year, as adjusted gross margin improved 280 bps to 66.2% from a year ago.

Reuters reports activist investor Sarissa Capital wants at least two seats on Ariad Pharmaceuticals' ($ARIA) board. Sarissa is said to have spoken with Ariad about "adding a few of its own directors," with the goal of reaching a deal before a proxy deadline. The deadline for nominating Ariad directors is Feb. 20. Three seats will be up for re-election at Ariad's annual meeting, expected to be around the third week of June. Sarissa, which waged a successful proxy battle against Vivus with fellow activist First Manhattan, disclosed a 6.22% stake in Ariad back in October. Ariad, occasionally the subject of M&A speculation, adopted a poison pill soon after.

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