Healthcare Review: Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Herbalife, Halozyme, WebMD, Akorn Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 13:27
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index erased losses as investors weighed corporate earnings, weaker-than-estimated economic data and tensions in Ukraine. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.6 percent, paring an earlier drop of 1.9 percent after touching its 200 day average price. Coca-Cola gained 3.9 percent as global volume sales increased. Johnson & Johnson climbed 1.6 percent as the company raised its forecast for the year. The S&P 500 (SPX) climbed 0.1 percent 1,832.73 at 2:08 p.m. in New York, reversing a loss of 0.8 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.42 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,178.66.

Shares of RNA interference firm Tekmira Pharmaceuticals ($TKMR -14.5%) continue their slide in early trading. Prices have cratered 60% since the 6x run-up peaked at $31.48 on March 13.Although Big Pharma has lost much of its enthusiasm for RNA interference, some analysts remain bullish. RBC Capital has a $30 PT on the stock and Maxim Group has $31. Stifel Nicolaus is a bit more modest with $19.Most of the firm's 2013 revenue of $15.5M came from its contract with the DOD for the development of an Ebola treatment ($9.8M) and a milestone payment from Alnylam ($ALNY -4.5%) ($5M) that was triggered by the start of the Phase 3 clinical trial for ALN-TTR02 (patisiran).

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launches an investigation into Herbalife ($HLF -2.9%) to determine if its business is a pyramid scheme. The state has the fourth highest number of distributors in the U.S. Last week the DOJ and FBI started their own inquiries.

Shares of Halozyme ($HALO) are up 7.5% before the open on modest volume as Citigroup initiates coverage on the stock with a Buy rating and $12 PT. On April 9 the FDA halted the company's PEGPH20 Phase 2 clinical trial while it investigates potential thromboembolic risks of the drug.

Citing improved sales activity, CEO David Schlanger says Q1 revenues for WebMD ($WBMD +16.5%) will be at the high end of the previously-disclosed $130M - $133M.EBITDA will come in slightly above the upper range target of $30.5M.2014 results for revenue ($545M - $575M), EBITDA ($140M - $155M) and net income ($27M - $39M) will all be in the upper half of their projected ranges.Average unique visitors per month in Q1 was 174M generating 3.5B page views for the period.

In a unanimous vote the FTC approves Akorn's ($AKRX -2.5%) acquisition of Hi-Tech Pharmacal ($HITK +0.3%) after Akorn agreed to divest certain products as a condition of its approval. The move was first reported in August.


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