Healthcare Review: Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, BioDelivery Sciences, Biogens Print
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Monday, 09 June 2014 13:44
U.S. stocks advanced on Monday, boosted by a number of major acquisition deals, though gains were slight with key indexes continuing to hover around records. If the S&P 500 ends higher on Monday, that will mark its 11th rise of the past 13 sessions, and its seventh record close of the past eight trading days. While Wall Street's upward trend looks intact, traders may need new catalysts to bid the market up further lest the momentum runs out of steam.

Boston-base Baupost Group LLC, the hedge fund run by highly-respected value investor Seth Klarman, stands to reap a hefty $900M profit from its 53.3M share stake in Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX +234%) in light of Merck's (MRK -0.1%) $3.85B offer ($24.50/share). This is a superb example of why he runs $27B in institutional money. Since 1983, his fund's average annual gain has been 17% versus the S&P 500's 11%.

Isis Pharmaceuticals ($ISIS) initiates a Phase 1 study for antisense ISIS-DMPKrx, a treatment for Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1) and earns a $14M milestone payment from Biogen Idec (BIIB). ISIS-DMPKrx is designed to reduce the production of toxic dystrophia myotonica-protein kinase RNA in cells.

Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals ($ACHN) are up 65% on robust volume in response to the announcement of Merck's acquisition of rival Hep C firm Idenix Pharmaceuticals. The transaction bodes well for Achillion's attractiveness as an acquisition target. It has a portfolio of Hepatitis C product candidates including the Fast Track-designated NS5A inhibitor ACH-3102, the NS3/4A inhibitor ACH-2684 and the NS5B inhibitior ACH-3422.

Shares of BioDelivery Sciences ($BDSI) are set to jump past resistance at $10 at the open this morning. Shares are up 4% to $10.40 on modest volume. Friday after the close the company announced the FDA approval of Bunavail, a treatment for opioid dependence.

The U.S. regulator clears Biogens' ($BIIB) Eloctate (antihemophilic factor (recombinant) Fc fusion protein) for the control and prevention of bleeding episodes, perioperative management and routine prophylaxis in adults and children with hemophilia A. It is the first recombinant therapy with prolonged circulation in the body and it offers hemophilia patients the potential to extend the interval between prophylactic infusions. The recommended starting prophylactic regimen is 50 IU/kg every four days.

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