Healthcare Review: Intuitive Surgical, Allergan, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Zogenix, Biogen Idec Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:50
U.S. stocks declined, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index completed its longest winning streak since September, as technology shares sank amid disappointing results from AT&T Inc. (T) and Amgen Inc. ($AMGN). The Nasdaq 100 Index sank 0.9 percent as Netflix Inc. dropped after Inc. reached a deal to stream old episodes of HBO series. Amgen, which is in the technology-heavy gauge, plunged after sales for its best-selling arthritis drug missed analysts’ estimates. AT&T Inc. fell 3.4 percent as more customers opted to pay full price for smartphones in exchange for lower bill in the future. Boeing Co. added 2.1 percent after profit topped forecasts.

While Intuitive Surgical's ($ISRG) Q1 revenue was in-line with the forecast given in its April 8 warning, the company has cut its 2014 procedure growth guidance to 2%-8%, down from a prior 9%-12%.Q1 procedure growth was 7%, down from a Q4 level of 12% and a full-year 2013 level of 16%.As previously forecast, systems revenue fell 56% Y/Y in Q1 to $106M. Intuitive blames U.S. systems weakness on lower procedure growth, Obamacare-driven changes in hospital spending priorities, and "the impact that anticipation of a new system may have had on customer capital-spending decisions."

Allergan ($AGN) has adopted a one-year stockholder rights plan following a $47B hostile takeover bid from Valeant (VRX) and Bill Ackman's Pershing Square. If any unapproved investor purchases 10% or more of Allergan's stock, other shareholders will have the right to acquire discounted shares. The plan would prevent Ackman from significantly increasing his 9.7% stake and it would stop Valeant from taking its offer directly to shareholders.

The European Commission designates Alexion Pharmaceuticals' ($ALXN) Soliris (eculizumab) an orphan drug for the prevention of graft rejection following solid organ transplantation. Soliris is currently approved in the U.S., European Union, Japan and other countries for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical uremic syndrome. The company is currently investigating the product's use for the prevention of acute antibody-mediated rejection in kidney transplants and for the prevention of delayed graft function in patients receiving deceased donor kidney transplants.

Undeterred by a federal court smack down of his state-wide ban on Zogenix's ($ZGNX) Zohydro, Governor Deval Patrick's Administration institutes restrictions on prescribing the product. Doctors will have to complete a risk assessment and pain treatment agreement before employing any opioid like Zohydro. The agreement covers drug screening, pill counts, safe storage and disposal and other safeguards against abuse. The MA Board of Registration of Medicine approved the new requirements yesterday. Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett issued an emergency order requiring physicians to use the state's Prescription Monitoring Program before prescribing Zohydro. The provides a mechanism for authorities to track where patients are receiving their medications.

Biogen Idec Inc. ($NASDAQ:BIIB) - Top line revenues of $2.1B (+51%) driven by Avonex's $761M, Tecfidera's $506M, Tysabri's $441M and Rituxan & Gazyva's $297M.Revenue growth has accelerated for five consecutive quarters. The company recorded 100% of Tysabri revenues subsequent to its acquisition of the complete rights to the product in Q2.

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