Unacom News- An Economic Round-Up

                                                   6th August-12 August 

Regeneron invests $100 million in BlueBird Bio for Research Colloboration

Bluebird Bio and Regeneron have announced a collaboration for the discovery, development and commercialisation of cell therapies for cancer. The collaboration will utilise Regenerons VelociSuite platform for discovery and characterisation of human antibodies, while Bluebird will contribute it’s field leading expertise in gene transfer and cell therapy.
They have selected six initial targets and will equally share the research and development costs up to the point of submitting an Investigational New Drug (IND) application. Additional targets may be selected over the five year collaboration and Regeneron will have the option of opting in to a co development arrangement with 50/50 cost and profit sharing. If Regeneron chooses not to join in, then they are still able to receive milestone payments and royalties from Bluebird on any resulting products.
A $100 million investment will also be made into bluebird by Regeneron. Creating Bluebird stock st $238.10 per share a 59% increase over the $150 closing price on August 3rd 2018.

Novo Nordisk reports a 4% Drop in Revenues in Q2

Novo Nordisk reported a 4% drop in its revenues in the second quarter. Sales fell to $4.3 billion, however profits rose 4% to $1.6 billion. The company had strong performance in its major brands with strong sales of Victoza ( +6% to $888 million) and Saxenda (+40% to $138 million)
The sales for the diabetes segment fell by 4% to $3.5 million which the company accredited to lower sales in North America.

AstraZeneca pays $110 million to Texas State in Law Settlement

AstraZeneca has agreed settle $110 million to the state of Texas regarding AstraZeneca’s drugs Seroquel and Crestor.  The Texas state initially wanted $5 billion for false and misleading marketing of  the two products.
The $110 settlement can be split in two amounts covering different areas. $90 million covers allegations that the company encouraged unapproved uses of anti psychotic Seroquel. With the Texas attorney General alleging that AstraZeneca gave false information regarding Seroquels efficacy for uses not approved by the FDA and misrepresented the drugs side effects and potent nature.
The $20 million settle covers the allegations of the misrepresentation of its anti cholesterol drug Crestor, making unsubstantiated claims regarding its efficacy and safety.
AstraZeneca has said in a statement that it ‘ makes no concessions or admissions of fault in the settlement agreement’

Ligand looking to acquire Biotech Company Vernalis 

San Diego based company Ligand is looking to buy UK biotech company Vernalis for $43 million. The proposed scheme, would involve Ligand paying Vernalis shareholders £0.062 per share in cash, valuing Vernalis at approximately $43 million. If Ligands offer is approved by Vernalis shareholders, the transaction is expected to close in October 2018.
Not only does it provide Ligand a European base but it would also provide the company with a portfolio of more than 8 fully funded partnered programmes including programmes in respiratory, oncology and CNS sectors.

Drop in Income for Merck in Q2 with new products providing steady sales growth.

Merck has reported a 42% drop in net income to €247 million for the second quarter but new products in Bavencio and Mavenclad have provided steady sales growth. Sales grew by 5.2% with Bavencio bringing in sales of $20 million up from $5 million and Macenclad seeing revenues of $23 million.  Merck has stated it expects exchange rates to have a moderate negative effect on net sales for the rest of the year  and is expecting declines of 3-5%. However this is lower than the previously forecast of 4-6%

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