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Merck ($MRK) has agreed to settle its Keytruda patent case with Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY). Another firm Ono Pharmaceuticals Company Ltd. is also involved in the case. Both these companies had claimed that Merck’s Keytruda infringed on their patents related to the use of PD-1 antibodies to treat cancer in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan.
Merck has agreed to make an initial payment of $625M to Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono. It will also pay a 6.5% royalty on Keytruda sales from January 1 of this year through the end of 2023 followed by another royalty at 2.5% from January 1, 2024 through 2026. Bristol-Myers Squibb will get 75% share of these payments while the remainder will go to Ono.
Merck stock showed positive reaction to the news and closed over 3% higher in the Friday trading session, taking its Year to Date gain to 6.22%. The company will record the $625 million payment in its fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 results.

Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. ($INFI) has started the year at a solid footing as it reported pre-clinical data for IPI-549, an oral immuno-oncology development candidate that selectively inhibits phosphoinositide-3-kinase-gamma. The data presented optimistic scenario for the drug as it showed that it was able to help overcome resistance to checkpoint inhibition. The drug mainly worked by remodeling the immune-suppressive tumor microenvironment by effecting myeloid cells, a type of cell considered to be involved in suppressing immune response against tumors.
This development is a good sign for the company as IPI-549 is considered to be the only PI3K-gamma inhibitor in clinical development. The stock market also welcomed the news as the stock jumped 29% in its Friday trading session. The pre-market session also showed upswing. Infinity Pharmaceuticals stock is now over 48% up on Year to Date basis, which helped wipe put some of the losses it sustained in 2016. The stock lost 69% of its value in the last 12 months.
The company also recently provided its blueprint for the year 2017. Infinity also plans to start enrollment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) in combination expansion cohorts evaluating IPI-549 plus Opdivo in the second half of 2017.
On financial front, the company expected its net loss for the year to be in the range of $40 to $50 million. However, its strong pipeline is likely to have positive impact on the stock price.


• AquaBounty Technologies ($AQB) announced completing the listing of its common shares on the NASDAQ Stock Market and finalized the equity subscription from Intrexon ($XON). The listing will help the company in broadening its horizons in the U.S. markets. The company also plans to start commercial production of its approach to fish farming. The company will start trading on NASDAQ from January 19. AquaBounty plans to use the funds for fulfilling ongoing working capital and investment requirements.
• Global Blood Therapeutics ($GBT) started enrollment for its Phase 3 clinical trial HOPE. The trial is meant to evaluate its lead product candidate GBT440 in people with sickle cell disease, who have had at least one episode of vaso-occlusive crisis in the previous year. The main endpoint for the trial is to find the proportion of participants who achieve more than a 1 g/dL increase in hemoglobin at week 24 compared to baseline.

• Novocure ($NVCR) announced that doctors at 500 U.S. cancer centers have been certified to prescribe Optune to treat newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma patients. The approved product is a non-invasive device that creates alternating "wave-like" electric fields called Tumor Treating Fields. It delivers its therapy to brain tumors through four transducer arrays placed on the scalp. In a large clinical study, it was as effective as chemo in treating recurrent glioblastoma.
• Roche ($RHHBY) announced that its cobas m 511 product is now commercially available in the countries which recognize the CE mark. It is an automated analyzer that integrates three components of hematology testing, a digital morphology analyzer, cell counter and classifier, into one streamlined solution that prepares, stains and analyzes blood samples.

• Bovie Medical ($BVX) announced signing a new deal with CONMED for selling its PlazXact Ablator, starting in March. The product is meant for cutting, coagulating and vaporizing soft tissue. It is compatible with all standard electrosurgical generators with footswitch control.
• Interpace Diagnostics ($IDXG) announced inking a new deal with Best Med Opinion Ltd. This Tel Aviv based company is a provider of second opinion and clinical services for doctors and patients in Israel and certain other countries. The firms did not disclose the financial terms. However, Best Med will disseminate information about various Interpace products such as ThyGenX, ThyraMir and PancraGen tests to its patients. The deal will thus help Interpace in serving Israeli market.

• Revance Therapeutics ($RVNC) receives Buy rating from Aegis Capital. The price target for the stock has been set at $28.
• Teva Pharmaceuticals ($TEVA) receives Neutral rating from JPMorgan. The price target for the stock has been set at $40.

Gainers (% price change) Last Trade Change Mkt Cap
NewLink Genetics Corp
11.33 +0.54 (5.00%) 318.01M
Cirrus Logic, Inc.
58.25 +2.65 (4.77%) 3.67B
PharmAthene, Inc.
3.30 +0.15 (4.76%) 204.01M
Gen-Probe Incorporated
9.51 +0.34 (3.71%) 1.33B
Merck & Co., Inc.
62.53 +2.20 (3.65%) 170.04B
Losers (% price change)
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
49.23 -6.26 (-11.28%) 81.42B
Synergy Pharmaceuticals
5.91 -0.50 (-7.80%) 1.04B
Sangamo Therapeutics Inc
3.65 -0.30 (-7.59%) 248.35M
Sarepta Therapeutics Inc
32.66 -1.57 (-4.59%) 1.70B
Accelerate Diagnostics
20.45 -0.90 (-4.22%) 1.02B
Most Actives (dollar volume)
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co
49.23 -6.26 (-11.28%) 81.42B
Merck & Co., Inc.
62.53 +2.20 (3.65%) 170.04B
Pfizer Inc.
31.77 +0.07 (0.22%) 190.81B
Johnson & Johnson
114.15 -0.05 (-0.04%) 309.19B
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
71.01 -0.56 (-0.78%) 92.83B