Healthcare Review: Gilead, BG Medicine, Chimerex, Accretive Health, Zogenix Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 14:09

U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, as equities recouped much of their earlier declines amid signs of progress in diplomatic attempts to ease tensions surrounding Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in London on Friday ahead of a referendum Sunday on whether the Ukraine's Crimean peninsula will join Russia or go independent. "People are just kind of reassessing, they are looking at that headline and thinking maybe it is not going to turn out to be a disaster in Russia and Ukraine," said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.

California Technology Assessment Forum members give a "low value" rating to Gilead's ($GILD) pricey hepatitis C treatment Sovaldi citing its high cost. The vote is non-binding but could influence coverage decisions by payers. The panel agrees that not all hep C patients require the most expensive drugs. If California treated every patient with liver damage it would cost the state over $6B.Sovaldi's treatment regimen costs $84,000 compared to $66,000 for J&J's (JNJ) Olysio.

BG Medicine ($BGMD) jumps 15.2% after saying late yesterday that it has received confirmation that it is in compliance with the listing requirements of the Nasdaq Capital Market. In November, when BG Medicine was traded on the Nasdaq Global Market, Nasdaq warned the firm that it was in breach of the exchange's requirements. BG asked to transfer to the Capital Market, which has less strict rules; Nasdaq approved, but the company still had to meet the new requirements.

Chimerex ($CMRX) has agreed to provide its Brincidofovir (CMX001) treatment to a seven-year-old boy who is dying from an adenovirus infection after his immune system was weakened by a bone-marrow transplant. Chimerex had initially refused to supply the drug, as it's not approved, but caved in after huge pressure in the media. The company will make the boy, called Josh Chimerex, the first patient in a 20-patient pilot trial, with the FDA saying it will help the firm design a Phase III study that could be launched as a continuation of the pilot.

Accretive Health ($AH) is facing delistment from the NYSE before markets open on Monday after saying that it expects to miss a March 19 deadline to file restated financial reports. In March last year, Accretive Health's audit committee ordered the company to restate results due to errors related to the timing of revenue recognition. While Accretive Health works on its earnings, it will trade over the counter.

Zogenix ($ZGNX) could face even stronger calls for its powerful painkiller Zohydro to be pulled from the market after privately held Purdue Pharma said its hydrocodone bitartrate treatment cut chronic lower-back pain in a Phase III trial. Purdue's treatment is difficult to crush and snort or inject, while Zohydro doesn't have such features, which has led to wide-ranging calls for the FDA to drop its approval of the drug over fears that it will be abused. The agency has already indicated that it could pull Zohydro if a rival drug with an "abuse-deterrent formulation" was created. Following the late-stage study for hydrocodone bitartrate, Purdue intends to ask for an accelerated FDA review of the drug.

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