Healthcare Review: Hologic, NeoStem, Medbox Inc, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Halozyme Therapeutics Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 15:24
U.S. stocks rose modestly on Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 both inching to record levels despite economic data that painted a mixed picture of the economy. The S&P 500 rose above 1,900 for the first time, extending its year-to-date rise to 2.7 percent. Retail sales rose 0.1 percent in April, less than expected, though March's read was revised upward. Separately, April import prices fell 0.4 percent while export prices dropped 1 percent. Analysts were expecting both to have risen 0.3 percent.

Hologic ($HOLX -1.3%) names former long-serving Johnson & Johnson exec Robert McMahon as CFO to succeed Glenn Muir, who is retiring. Most recently, McMahon was Worldwide VP of Finance & Business Development at J&J's Ortho Clinical Diagnostics group. McMahon will become Hologic's CFO on May 26, while Muir will remain with the company until November 30 to help with the transition. Hologic has also appointed healthcare sales veteran Peter Valenti as Division President, Breast Health.

NeoStem ($NBS) has signed a licensing agreement with China-based Cellular Biomedicine Group ($CBMG) to begin a Phase 2 trial of NeoStem's DC-TC immunotherapy in patients with late-stage liver cancer. NeoStem will receive $1M when the first patient is enrolled in the study - which will take place in China - and up to $30M in milestone fees over the lifetime of the agreement, as well as royalties and sub-license payments. CBMG will also pay for the trial and take responsibility for clinical, marketing and commercialization activities in China. NeoStem has also reached an agreement with the FDA to start Phase III trials of its Melapuldencel-T treatment for metastatic melanoma.

Medbox Inc. (OTCMKTS:MDBX): The San Jose City Council discusses new regulations that will, in effect, shut down all medical pot dispensaries ($MDBX). Cannabis lobbyists say that the regs are unduly influenced by law enforcement, who regards all medical marijuana as illegal. The Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition submitted an updated initiative to the Council yesterday that they believe addresses their concerns. Medical cannabis advocates urge interested citizens to show up at tonight's meeting.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals ($INO) acquires the global (ex-China) rights to therapies for Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis based on the work of DNA researcher Dr. Ben Wang from Fudan University's Shanghai Medical College.The therapies work by generating inducible regulatory T cells (iTreg). The cells are involved in shutting down immune responses after they have successfully eliminated invading organisms. They have potential in preventing autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Halozyme Therapeutics ($HALO) has requested that the FDA lift a clinical hold on its PEGPH20 treatment for pancreatic cancer after the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) in a Phase II trial of the drug said it now supports, with modifications, the continued enrollment of patients in the study. Halozyme suspended the testing last month following a recommendation from the DMC so that the company could investigate whether the drug increased the risk of thromboembolic events, or blocked blood vessels.

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