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Benitec Biopharma ($BNTC) announced that it has significant milestone with regard to its ddRNAi technology to treat ocular diseases, particularly with identifying novel viral vectors. The new development will enable the delivery of the gene therapy to the retina via intravitreal injection. Current ocular gene therapy requires a complex surgical technique called subretinal injection for delivery into the eye.
The company stock jumped to its 52-week high during the Thursday trading session. Eventually, it closed at $3.75, up 134.38%. The company had also recently announced that its BB-301, a ddRNAi therapeutic, was granted Orphan Drug Designation by the European Commission, based on a favourable recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP).

IntelliPharmaCeutics ($IPCI) announced that the FDA has accepted for review its New Drug Application (NDA) seeking approval of Rexista, an abuse-deterrent formulation of the opioid oxycodone. The agency's action date is September 25. The stock gained over 13% the pre-market hours. The company is up over 5% this year so far while its 12 months gain stands at 31.14%.
IntelliPharmaCeutics also recently reported the launch of 25 and 35 mg strengths of its generic Focalin XR® (dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride extended-release) capsules in the U.S., through its marketing partner Par Pharmaceutical. The company also recently received U.S. Patent No. 9,522,119 and Canadian Patent No. 2,910,865, issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office respectively, in respect of “Compositions and Methods for Reducing Overdose”. The issued patents cover aspects of the Company’s Paradoxical OverDose Resistance Activating System ("PODRAS™") delivery technology.

 

• UnitedHeathcare ($UNH) reported that it will cover Ionis Pharmaceuticals ($IONS) and Biogen's ($BIIB) Spinraza (nusinersen) for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) types 1-3. The policy states that Spinraza should be prescribed by a neurologist with expertise in SMA or a physician in consultation with such a neurologist. Initial authorization will be a maximum of four loading doses.
• Genesis Healthcare ($GEN) announced inking a new deal with Kindred Healthcare ($KND) enter into a strategic collaboration to improve quality, outcomes and care transitions in the post-acute setting. The companies will collaborate to develop and implement best practices aimed at improving the quality of care, patient safety, efficiency and availability of healthcare services in the community, with a high priority on the post-acute realm.

• Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) annoucned successful results for a Phase 3 clinical trial, FOURIER, evaluating the effect of cholesterol fighter Repatha (evolocumab) on reducing the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events in patients with clinically evident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). The study met its primary endpoint of showing that treatment with Repatha statistically significantly lowered CV risk compared to placebo. No new safety issues were observed.
• Merck ($MRK) announced that the FDA has accepted for review its two supplemental Biologics License Applications (sBLAs). These applications seek approval for the use of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in patients with locally advanced/metastatic urothelial cancer in a first-line setting and in a second-line setting in patients whose cancer has progressed on or after platinum-based chemo. Both applications have Priority Review status which shortens the review clock to six months. The action date (PDUFA) for both is June 14.

 
• Parexel ($PRXL) announced inking a new deal to acquire The Medical Affairs Company, LLC for an undisclosed sum. The Kennesaw, Georgia based company provides outsourced medical affairs services to the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries. The transaction should close this month.

• Reckitt Benckiser ($RBGLY) confirmed $16.7B merger talks with baby food maker Mead Johnson ($MJN). The company is looking to boost its faster-growing consumer health business and bolster its presence in Asia. Reckitt would pay $90 a share, a 29.5% premium to Wednesday's closing share price, as and when the deal may get through. Nestle may also enter the bidding war, though, at present, it is a mere speculation.

 
• Cambrex Corporation ($CBM) announced its fourth quarter results. The company earned $1.23 per share, after adjustments. The life sciences company announced revenue of $177.9 million in the quarter. For the entire year, the company reported profit of $81.7 million, or $2.48 per share. Revenue was reported as $490.6 million.
• Athenahealth ($ATHN) reported is fourth quarter earnings at $0.62 per share, after adjustments, beating consensus estimate of $0.51 per share in earnings. The company posted revenue of $288.2 million in the period, which missed Street forecasts expecting $303.4 million. For the year, the company reported profit of $21 million, or 52 cents per share. Revenue was reported as $1.08 billion. Athenahealth expects full-year revenue in the range of $1.29 billion to $1.33 billion.

• Baxter International ($BAX) received Buy rating from Barclays. The price target for the stock has been set at $60 apiece.
• Amgen Inc. ($AMGN) received Buy rating from Oppenheimer. The price target for the stock has been set at $175 apiece.

Gainers (% price change)Last TradeChangeMkt CapKeryx BiopharmaceuticalsKERX5.48+0.70 (14.64%)556.23MIDEXX Laboratories, Inc.IDXX139.07+16.27 (13.25%)12.52BZIOPHARM Oncology Inc.ZIOP6.35+0.51 (8.73%)825.20MAcelRx PharmaceuticalsACRX2.85+0.20 (7.55%)129.20MSpectrum PharmaceuticalsSPPI5.09+0.35 (7.38%)417.08MLosers (% price change)Cirrus Logic, Inc.CRUS55.00-8.96 (-14.01%)3.72BInfinity PharmaceuticalsINFI2.28-0.23 (-9.16%)137.48MPAREXEL Intl. Corp.PRXL63.93-6.39 (-9.09%)3.38BNovo Nordisk A/S (ADR)NVO33.48-3.21 (-8.75%)67.50BEdwards Lifesciences CorpEW89.73-8.29 (-8.46%)19.80BMost Actives (dollar volume)Merck & Co., Inc.MRK64.18+2.08 (3.35%)177.27BBristol-Myers Squibb CoBMY50.50+1.21 (2.45%)84.62BJohnson & JohnsonJNJ113.57+0.34 (0.30%)308.92BEdwards Lifesciences CorpEW89.73-8.29 (-8.46%)19.80BUnitedHealth Group IncUNH160.76-1.95 (-1.20%)153.59B