UnaCom Product News Round Up

                                                        10th September- 16th September


Monday 10th September

GSK's Nucala rejected by US Regulators for Coronary Pulmonary Obstructive Disorder

GSKs aim to expand Nucala's global outreach received a major setback today. GSK is hoping to have Nucala as an additional treatment for the reduction of patients with Coronary Pulmonary Obstructive Disorder (COPD). The FDA has issued a response letter asking for more clinical data to support the claims. The GSK when applying for approval from the FDA submitted the data from two trials, METREX and METREO. METREX, showed a statistically significant reduction in the frequency of moderate and severe exacerbations for Nucala compared to a placebo in patients with a broad range of eosinophil counts. However METREO, included just patients with higher eosinophil levels, showed a reduction in the frequency of moderate and severe exacerbations for Nucala compared to placebo, but the difference did not reach statistical significance. GSK has said that it “work closely with the FDA to determine the appropriate next steps” for the application. 

UK the first country in Europe, to launch flutiform k-haler for asthma

Napp Pharmaceuticals says the UK is the first European country to launch this new inhaler for adolescents and adults living with asthma. What makes this inhaler different is that it is activated by a low breathing-in force that makes it easier to use correctly. This is crucial as an estimated 2.5 million asthma sufferers make errors with their inhalers and are not taking them properly leading to exacerbation of the symptoms.

Tuesday 11th September 

NICE Rejects Opdivo for preventing melanoma recurrence 

NICE is blocking NHS funding for Bristol Myers Squibb Opdivo, as an adjuvant treatment for resected stage III and IV melanoma. The firm released data from its Phase three trial Checkmate, showing that, at 24 months, nearly two-thirds (63%) of patients treated with Opdivo (nivolumab) had longer recurrent-free survival compared to those treated with Yervoy (ipilimumab; 50%). However, in its draft guidelines, NICE said that clinical effectiveness was 'uncertain' and noted that there were no trails directly comparing the use of Opdivo, with the current treatment used (routine surveillance for completely resected stage III and IV melanoma.) With the uncertainty in the clinical trials data, it is therefore impossible for NICE to decide if Opdivo is cost effective.

Four New Medicines Avaliable in NHS Scotland

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has approved funding for four new treatments. Sanofi's Dupixent is the first biologic drug made available routinely from NHS Scotland for the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in adults who do not respond well to the immunosuppressants. Also endorsed was Roche's /Chugai’s RoActemra (tocilizumab) for the treatment of Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) in adult patients. This condition results in inflammation of blood vessels, which can be difficult to diagnose because of its wide range of symptoms, including severe headaches, scalp tenderness and jaw pain. NHS funding was approved for ViiV HealthCare’s Juluca (dolutegravir/rilpivirine), the first dual therapy treatment for HIV. Also, for HIV, Gilead’s Biktarvy was approved.

Thursday 13th September 

New cell/gene therapy production approved by MHRA

The production of cell/gene therapies in Stevenage for across the world has been approved by the MHRA. The MHRA has approved two licenses, a Manufacturing and Importation Authorisation (MIA) and an MIA for investigational medicinal product (MIA IMP), which fulfil an EU requirement to produce commercial medicines for patient use or to support clinical trials. This enables firms working in Stevenage to develop therapies that progress faster to clinical trials. Catapult, the main company at Stevenage accredited this swift approval by the MHRA, due to "close engagement with MHRA during the design, build and qualification of the centre." What makes the centre special is that its operating model allows collaborator companies to manufacture their therapies at scale with expertise and practical support from CGT Catapult experts across scientific research, manufacturing, supply and regulation.

Friday 14th September  

Landmark Multiple Sclerosis Trial starts in the UK

The biggest ever trial for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) has kicked off in the UK.  This trial has been co-founded by the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Society, and the hopes of the trial are to confirm whether simvastatin could be one of the first drugs to slow or stop the progression of disability for SPMS, a form of the condition that currently has little effective treatment. The trial will involve 1,180 people at 30 UK sites. This follows results from a smaller trial, which showed simvastatin slowing disease progression and that it reduced the rate of brain atrophy, suggesting that is might protect nerves from damage in patients with the disease. The trial is co funded by the MS society, NICE and UK universities.




                         UnaCom Oil and Gas News

                                                               10th September - 16th September 


 Monday 10th September

Qatargas and China agree on 22-year LNG Gas Supply

Qatargas has said today, that is has agreed a 22-year deal with PetroChina International Co, to supply China with around 3.4 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas. In an effort by China to step up its efforts in combating air pollution. China needs LNG to replace its usage of coal with cleaner burning natural gas. China has become the second largest buyer of LNG, after recently overtaking South Korea. China's LNG imports may surge 70 percent to 65 million tonnes by 2020, according to consultancy SIA Energy.

Tuesday 11th September  

U.S Sanctions already starting to take its effect on Oil Buyers

The sanctions are set to come in place in November against Iran. And its effects are already starting to take place with JXTG Holdings Inc, Japan’s biggest refiner, and domestic rival Idemitsu Kosan Co. are both said to have skipped purchases of Iranian supplies loading in October. Bharat Petroleum is among Indian state-run refiners that haven’t booked any cargoes for the month either. These companies are waiting for their respective governments to negotiate import deals with the US. Companies are declining to buy October cargoes from Iran because of the possibility that those shipments may arrive only after Nov. 4. That’s when the U.S. will reimpose sanctions targeting Iran’s exports to force renegotiation over the Middle East nation’s nuclear program. With a drop-in export from Iran, coupled with disruptions in other producers like Libya, this could raise the price of Brent Crude over $80/bbl in the near-term. Meanwhile, China the biggest buy of Iranian oil, is increased Iranian crude imports via the Sino-Myanmar pipeline. 

SABIC signs deal to build a petrochemical complex in China 

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s Fujian provincial government to build a petrochemical complex. This is the third major company to invest in chemicals in China over the past two months. With U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil and Germany’s BASF having announced plans to build ethylene complexes in southern China’s Guangdong province.

ExxonMobil planning on Upgrading UK Refinery for more than £500 million 

ExxonMobil is to potentially spend £500 million, to upgrade the UK’s largest oil refinery, Fawley, on England’s south coast. Fawley represents a fifth of British, refining capacity. The deal is not finalised, and an investment decision is still required, which is predicted to take place in the 2nd quarter next year. The upgrade would include, building a new hydrotreater and a new hydrogen plant, it would reduce Britain’s reliance on diesel imports. It will also allow the site to process a wider range of crude oils and secure up to 1000 jobs.

Wednesday 12th September

North Sea Drilling falls to its lowest levels since 1965 

The number of new wells being drilled in the North Sea, has fallen to levels not seen since the basin was first tapped over 50 years ago. Only four exploratory wells have been drilled in the first eight months of the year, with the most optimistic projections pointing to a total of 12 expected by the year end. This fall is a sign that companies are only willing to drill the most competitive and profitable wells. 

Thursday 13th September

North Sea Oil and Gas to generate £10bn surplus

North Sea Oil and Gas companies are set to generate a surplus of £10bn this year and the Treasury ready to set $2bn tax receipts, but companies are struggling with a drop-in discovery and drilling of wells. This surplus due to a report from Oil and Gas UK, links the increase in financial activity to a crude price rally since late 2016 combined with efforts to increase efficiency. The £10bn free cash flow will be the highest figure achieved since 2010, when the industry was at a boom.  However, with drilling falling 50% over the last five years, its causing concern for the ability of the industry to realise its potential. 

Friday 14th September  

West Shetland generating excitement in the industry

After reports yesterday that the UK was squandering its resources with a drop-in drilling reaching worrying levels. But now with Cairn energy generating huge amounts of cash from the Kraken field east of Shetland it brought into production last year and prominent Wood Mackenzie, noting that regulators thinks more than 1.5 billion barrels oil equivalent could be recovered West of Shetland with only less than 160 exploration wells having been drilled in the region to date. That compares with more than 500 in other area of the UK. They also said the huge fields that BP and Shell are likely to develop will drive production growth in the UK through the 2020s. And will encourage firms to look at other areas of the wilds West of Scotland.   

                         Weekly Economic Round Up

                                                              10th September- 16th September



 Monday 10th September

Australia's Investa has set September the 17th as the deciding date for Blackstone Bid

Investa has September 17th as the date for which its shareholders vote on Blackstone’s Groups $2.4 billion bid. Blackstone had raised its per share price to A$5.52. After its rival Canada’s Oxford Properties Group (who already has a 10% share in Investa) also submitted a bid of A$5.50 per share.

Goldman Sachs selected as the adviser for SABIC stake sale

Saudi Arabia’s, Public Investment Fund, has selected Goldman Sachs to be its advisor for the sale of its stake in petrochemicals firm SABIC to state oil company Saudi Aramco. Citi has won the mandate to advise SABIC on the transaction. Aramco plans to buy a controlling stake in SABIC, with the possibility of it taking the entire 70 percent holding owned by PIF, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. This is Saudi's biggest ever M&A deal. 

Tuesday 11th September

German department stores chains Kaufhof and Karstadt to merge   

Signa Holding and Hudson’s Bay Company have agreed to merge Germany’s two major department store chains, Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt, to tackle the competition from ecommerce (buying and selling online.) The deal will combine the retail operations with annual sales of around 5.4 billion euros. The merge will be 49.99 percent owned by Canadian retail giant Hudson’s Bay, while Austrian Karstadt owner Signa will hold the remainder. The deal also comprises of the sale of stakes in HBC’s European real estate assets to Signa and will result in net proceeds of 411 million euros for HBC.Signa will be involved in the day to day operations of the combined business.

After investor backlash, Elementis to pay less for Mondo

British chemicals company Elementis has struck a deal $100 million less than initially agreed following backlash from its investors over the price. Elementis said on Tuesday that is has agreed to pay $500 million for Mondo Minerals, down from $600 million previously offered. Elementis was buying Mondo Minerals to expand into talc additives used in a range of products from plastics to cosmetics. Elementis said that the acquisition would be funded by a rights issue of about $230 million and from debt facilities.

Network Rail sells its property portfolio to fund railway improvements

Britain’s Network Rail agreed to sell its commercial property portfolio to property outsourcing firm Telereal Trillium and a Blackstone Group affiliate for 1.46 billion pounds. Network rail said that the sale consisted of about 5200 properties. This comes after the company looks to improve London’s commuter railway lines after coming under pressure from regulators and lawmakers for its poor management. Telereal and Blackstone Property Partners will be equal stakeholders and intend to be long term owners of the estate. Telereal will oversee the day-to-day property management of the portfolio, as the company have managed real estate occupied by local and central government departments, including Royal Mail and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Wednesday 12th September  

Sterling down as rumours about leadership challenge to May circulate

The Sterling fell today, after reports of a potential leadership challenge to Theresa May. The pound fell a quarter of a percent to as low as $1.2994 against the dollar after the BBC reported a group of about 50 lawmakers in May’s government had met to discuss how and when they could force her out of her job. After concerns about her decision to remain in a free trade zone for goods with the EU. The pound has jumped up and down after every Brexit related news, with investors trying to work out the type of deal being reached.

Trade War sends Chinese Stocks into disarray 

The trade war only began 6 months ago and has already sent the Chinese stocks stumbling into the same league as debilitated emerging markets such as Turkey, Argentina and Venezuela. China's stock has fallen 20% in 2018, joining the worst performing trio of the already mentioned countries. On the other hand, the American Nasdaq is one of the world’s biggest gainers, rising by 15.5%. Chinas currency has also fallen and share transaction volumes have shrunk.

Thursday 13th September 

Takeda considering selling Shire's eye care business to cut debt

Japans Takeda Pharmaceuticals is considering to sells its Shire eye care business once it closes its $62 billion purchase of the company, to cut some of the debt raised when needed to buy the company. Takeda's purchase of Shire was the largest overseas purchase by a Japanese company.  If Takeda chose to sell of Shire's Xiidra drug which treats dry eye, as well as its Natpara medicine used to control low blood calcium levels, it could help to raise between $4 billion and $5 billion. 

Oxford raises Blackstone Bid for Australians Investa 

Canadian Oxford Properties Group has raised its bid for Australian office owner Investa Office Fund to A$5.60 per share compared to Blackstone’s most recent offer of $5.52 escalating a bidding war with private equity giant Blackstone Group. This comes just after recent news on Monday, that Australia’s Investa had set September 17th as the data for which its investors vote on Blackstone’s bid.

Friday 14th September  

China approves Takeda's takeover of Shire

Takeda announced today, that China has approved its $62 billion takeover of Shire. This acquisition will be Japans largest oversea purchase ever. It has already received approval from Brazil, USA and is currently waiting responses from Japan and the European Union. Takeda's stocks are 15% down, since the company first said it was considering a bid for Shire, with investors concerned about the heavy debt burden the deal will impose on the drug maker. 

Walmart acquires Mexican food company app Cornershop for $225 million

Walmart has purchased Latin American food delivery service Cornershop for $225 million, in a move to increase its online grocery business in Mexico and Chile. This deal follows Walmart’s recent acquisitions as it aims to compete with Amazon.com Inc, the world’s largest online retailer. The acquisition of Cornershop which offers its service through a mobile app, will help it quicken deliveries for its Walmart, Superama and Sam’s Club stores in Mexico. The aim for Walmart is deliver food to more than 40 percent of U.S. households by year’s end using delivery companies like Uber and already has started in Canada by teaming up with start-up Instacart for on-demand grocery deliveries.



                 UnaCom Economic News Round Up

                                                          10th September-16th September                         


Wednesday 13th September

Takeda considering selling Shire's eye care business to cut debt

Japans Takeda Pharmaceuticals is considering to sells its Shire eye care business once it closes its $62 billion purchase of the company, to cut some of the debt raised when needed to buy the company. Takeda's purchase of Shire was the largest overseas purchase by a Japanese company.  If Takeda chose to sell of Shire's Xiidra drug which treats dry eye, as well as its Natpara medicine used to control low blood calcium levels, it could help to raise between $4 billion and $5 billion. 

Thursday 14th September

Boehringer buys ViraTherapeutics 

Boehringer has exercised an option to acquire all the shares of oncolytic virus company ViraTherapeutics. ViraTherapeutics will operate in Austria, as a branch of Boehringer’s Discovery Research organisation. ViraTherapeutics specialises in the development of oncolytic viral therapies. 

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