Healthcare Review: Avanir, Anika Therapeutics, Novartis, Jazz Pharma, Questcor Pharmaceuticals Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 15:10
U.S. stocks turned down in afternoon trading, as the S&P 500 retreated from record levels for a third-straight session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nine points, or less than 0.1%, at 16169. On Tuesday, the Dow erased a gain of as many as 59 points to close down 27 points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 slipped two points, or 0.1%, to 1842. At its session peak Wednesday, the index rose to 1852.73, above its all-time closing high of 1848.38, but fell short of the all-time intraday high of 1858.71 that it hit earlier this week. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down four points, or 0.1%, to 4283. A rosy report on the U.S. housing market and better-than-feared reports from some retailers helped support stocks early in the session, but trading wasn't broadly bullish, traders and investors said.

Believing a Nuedexta patent trial victory is mostly priced in, analyst Thomas Wei maintains his Hold rating on the stock with $4 price target. "Although the stock may react favorably to a win, our valuation already credits Avanir ($AVNR) for the full patent life for Nuedexta and a second-generation Nuedexta and continued linear demand growth through 2016 to reach a $4 price target and Hold rating."

Anika Therapeutics ($ANIK) surges 41% to $48.67 following the FDA's approval of the company's Monovisc single injection for pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee. The authorization must feel pretty sweet for Anika - it first applied for approval over four years ago. Summer Street has hiked its price target to $60 a share from a prior PT of $47."We believe this product will be competitive in a market that is becoming more focused on single-shot injections," Summer Street says.

Novartis ($NVS) has confirmed fears that it will shut its R&D facility in Horsham in southern England by the end of June. The plant employs 400 staffers and 170 consultants. The closure is part of Novartis' global reorganization as it concentrates more of its R&D around three major hubs: Basel, Boston and Shanghai.

Along with its Q4 results, Jazz Pharma ($JAZZ) announces CFO Kathryn Falberg is resigning, effective March 9, to "pursue other interests." Corporate development SVP Matthew Young is replacing Falberg. Jazz expects 2014 revenue of $1.1B-$1.16B and EPS of $8-$8.25 vs. a consensus of $1.08B and $8.07.  Xyrem net sales are expected to total $755M-775M, and Erwinaze/Erwinase net sales $185M-$200M.Xyrem net sales +45% Y/Y in Q4 to $164.2M, Erwinaze/Erwinase net sales +26% to $43.5M. Opex +25% to $75.5M.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR) : 8.1K vials of Acthar shipped during quarter vs. 6.33K one year ago. For the full year, shipments of 28.1K vs. 20.7K in 2012.New paid prescriptions for Acthar of about 2.45K-2.5K up about 30% Y/Y. Rheumatology prescriptions now account for nearly 30% of Acthar business. In January, company began with a small pilot sales force to educate pulmonologists about Acthar in the treatment of respiratory manifestations of orphan disease symptomatic sarcoidosis.960K shares repurchased during Q for average price of $55.26 each, a total of $53.1M. About 5.3M shares remain under existing authorization. End-of-year float of 62.3M shares.

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