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AveXis could be lifted by rival Spark Therapeutics' pricing scheme for gene therapy: RBC
Biotech AveXis Inc. could benefit, if indirectly, from payment arrangements set up by rival Spark Therapeutics Inc. for its $850,000-a-patient gene therapy Luxturna, RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Abrahams said on Wednesday. AveXis, which is developing its AVXS-101 gene therapy as a one-time treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, saw shares decline 3.6% in heavy Wednesday trade. AVXS-101, if approved, could cost as much as $2 million per treatment, Abrahams said. The payment schemes set up by Spark, intended to make Luxturna's record-setting pricetag more palatable to health care payers, "helps set the stage for AVXS's '101 and other gene therapies," Abrahams said. "We note this strategy is in distinct contrast to what had taken place with other one-time treatments as in HCV, and believe that this more proactive approach is more likely to ensure the buy-in of key constituents (rather than generate a backlash)." Positive results from a phase 1 trial of AVXS-101 were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November, and Abrahams said that the Food and Drug Administration might consider accelerated approval. Abrahams also raised his price target for AveXis from $97 to $99 on Wednesday, citing the success of Biogen's spinal muscular atrophy therapy Spinraza, among other factors. AveXis shares have surged 8.4% over the last three months, compared with a 6.9% rise in the S&P 500 and a 9.6% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Biogen price target raised 20% to $420 at Instinet, citing 'meaningful 2018 for the company'
Biogen Inc.'s price target was raised 18% to $420 by Instinet on Thursday, citing its expectation of "a meaningful 2018 for the company." The price target increase comes as Biogen shares have slid 3% after a negative analysis was released for one of its Alzheimer's disease drug trials. Instinet analyst Christopher Marai, however, noted high hopes for the company's spinal muscular atrophy therapy Spinraza, agreements Biogen has with companies like Alkermes and Eisai and the company's much-anticipated other Alzheimer's disease drug, aducanumab. "In our view, potentially positive catalysts from BIIB's both widely covered and underappreciated mid- to late-stage pipeline assets (which we do not yet include in our own estimates) will not only be stock-moving but also index-moving, making BIIB 'a must own name.'" Biogen shares have risen 2.6% over the last three months to $323.23, compared with a 7.5% rise in the S&P 500 and a 10.6% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
UPDATE: Revance stock surges and Allergan drops on positive results for wrinkle injection
Revance Therapeutics Inc. shares surged nearly 38% in extremely heavy morning trade Tuesday after the company reported positive results for its wrinkle-relaxing injection in two late-stage clinical trials. If approved, the product, DaxibotulinumtoxinA for Injection (RT002), would be the first of its kind to last six months. Products currently on the market, including Allergan's market-leading Botox, last three to four months. Allergan shares dropped 3.2% in extremely heavy morning trade on Tuesday. In two trials, Revance's product showed highly statistically significant improvement relative to the placebo in reducing frown lines or wrinkles between eyebrows. The product is also being tested in a long-term safety trial, with results expected in the second half of next year; if the trial is successfully completed, Revance expects to file for approval in the first half of 2019 and, if it's approved, launch the product in the U.S. in 2020. Botox has been a wildly profitable product for Allergan, since patients largely pay out-of-pocket for it, and analysts have noted that new rivals could pose a long-term risk for the company. Revance's latest data are "better than their Ph 2 on several metrics," said EvercoreISI analyst Umer Raffat. But, with regard to being able to claim six months of effectiveness, Raffat said, "I think there's a case to be made for that, but that's not a layup." Raffat also noted that the product would likely be priced higher than Botox. In a statement to MarketWatch, Allergan called the Revance results "underwhelming." "Allergan does not expect Revance's toxin to enter the market until mid-2020, and we do not believe this data will support a longer duration claim," a company spokesperson said, adding that "based on the profile demonstrated in this data, Allergan does not view this toxin as being differentiated from Botox." Revance shares have surged 45.5% over the last three months to $35.80, compared with a 7.4% rise in the S&P 500 and a 11.7% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Galectin Therapeutics stock drops nearly 50% after negative trial results
Galectin Therapeutics Inc. shares dropped nearly 50% in premarket trade on Tuesday after the company said its GR-MD-02 therapy did not meet its primary endpoint in a midstage clinical trial. The company emphasized, however, that the therapy reduced the primary endpoint in a statistically significant and "clinically meaningful" way, relative to the placebo, in about half of the patients in the clinical trial. Results were not statistically significant in the total group of patients "because there was more variability in HVPG measurements for patients with esophageal varices," the company said. Galectin Chief Executive Peter Traber said that the results "stratify a large and easily identifiable group of patients" and "suggest several potential registration endpoints that may be employed in a phase 3 program." GR-MD-02 is being developed for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, a common disease that is caused by fat buildup in the liver and can cause inflammation and damage there. Drugmakers have been racing to capture the market, which they expect to be worth billions of dollars. Galectin shares have surged 42.4% over the last three months to $2.48, compared with a 7.4% rise in the S&P 500 and a 11.7% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Cytokinetics shares drop 31% on late-stage ALS drug failure
Cytokinetics Inc. shares dropped 31% in premarket trade Tuesday after the company said its lead product candidate failed to meet primary or secondary endpoints in a late-stage clinical trial. The drug, tirasemtiv, was being developed for the progressive neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Cytokinetics said on Tuesday that it plans to suspend tirasemtiv's development. The company said it believes tirasemtiv's limitations "may be addressed with our next-generation fast skeletal muscle activator, CK-2127107," which is currently in mid-stage clinical trials, with phase 2 results expected next year. CK-212710, which is also called CK-107, is being developed to improve muscle function and physical performance for individuals with ALS, spinal muscular atrophy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and for elderly adults with limited mobility. Cytokinetics shares have declined 11.6% over the last three months, compared with a 6.3% rise in the S&P 500 and a 8% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Axalta shares rocket 20% after report of potential merger talks
Shares of Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. were up nearly 20% during intraday trade on Friday after reports that the company has been approached by Dutch paints company Akzo Nobel NV for a potential merger. Reuters, citing unnamed sources, said that Axalta is in early stages of considering the deal and that there is no guarantee a deal will actually happen. Shares of Akzo Nobel were down less than 1%. Axalta shares have gained 22% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up more than 15% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 18%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Imax shares rocket up 10% after company reports strongest third-quarter ever
Shares of Imax Corp. rose more than 10% in premarket trade on Thursday after the premium movie theater exhibitor reported third-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations. Imax reported net income of $2.90 million, or a loss of 1 cent per share, after income of $4.38 million, or 4 cents per share, during the same quarter a year ago. Imax revenue was $98.8 million, up from $86.6 million last year, and above FactSet's $86.5 million revenue consensus. The company said its box office revenue increased more than 17% to $218.8 million in the quarter. "Despite overall cinema industry challenges, it was our strongest third quarter ever, underpinned by our out performance on blockbuster-titles such as 'Dunkirk,'" Imax Chief Executive Richard Gelfond said in a statement. "Last quarter we laid out several initiatives aimed at increasing the revenue generation of our network and reducing our cost structure. While we are still in the early stages of fully implementing these initiatives, we were pleased with the tangible progress we made in the third quarter." Shares of Imax Corp. are down nearly 26% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up close to 15% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 18%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
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