Cigna Corp. fell$. 69 or 1.0 percent, to $67.23. Humana Inc. fell$. 91 or 1.1 percent, to $78.93. UnitedHealth Group fell$. 30 or. 5 percent, to $62.06.» Read More
So, it didn't take long after my Genentech blog entry got posted yesterday for me to receive an email and a voicemail from a Genentech spokesperson requesting a "clarification" on my take regarding the latest chapter in the Avastin vs. Lucentis brouhaha. I think I'm being spun.
Genentech today has essentially backed down from a proposed crackdown on doctors' use of the cancer drug Avastin instead of the way more expensive Lucentis. The drugs are used to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD, for short), which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Most of my PR and professional contacts send Christmas cards, but for the past two years the boutique Wall Street firm, Rodman & Renshaw, has sent me heavy metal piggy banks. I assume the company sends them to its clients as well.
Eli Lilly announced this morning that Chairman and CEO Sidney Taurel is retiring as CEO on March 31st next year. He will stay on as Chairman and on April Fool's Day Chief Operating Officer John Lechleiter will take over as CEO. Investors, at least in early trading, seem to like the choice.
Shares of biotech behemoth Amgen are trading at a new intra-day low in the early going this morning after the company announced new data on its developmental osteoporosis drug late Friday. The Phase 3, or late-stage, study was designed to see if the twice-a-year injectable drug strengthened the bones of women with a certain type of breast cancer.
The biotech momentum players and the Dendreonites--or Dendreonians--are buzzing about the story we broke on "Power Lunch" Thursday that three members of Congress are asking the House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold a hearing about the Dendreon/Provenge saga. The shares spiked on very heavy volume.
Novartis is the latest company to brand its downsizing, cost-cutting campaign. The Swiss drugmaker is calling its initiative, "Forward". It's not an acronym. So, "Forward" means Novartis is going to try to save $1.6 billion in 2010 and get rid of 2,500 employees. Although I don't think "Forward" is the word which begins with "f" that the affected workers would use to describe the initiative.
Last year one of our producers had the bright idea of assigning each of CNBC's beat reporters a story about seven predictions for their beat for 2007. So, now this year not only do we have to do the 8 for '08 thing for TV, but also for the blog.
The morning after the Merck annual business briefing, the analyst reviews are pouring in. For the most part, the ones that I've received at least, say it had a good beat. Only Sanford C. Bernstein's Tim Anderson says he can't dance to it. He titles a research note to clients, "Annual Business Review Uneventful--No Real Surprises, Positive Or Negative."
I'm back at Merck HQ in central Jersey for the annual analyst meeting. And I must say that the reception--so far, at least--is much more hospitable and helpful than last year wen things were tense and got a little ugly. A new pr team is in place.
Earlier this week I blogged about Amgen's negative test results for its anemia drug Aranesp in breast cancer. The studies showed the drug may have caused tumors to grow and death. This morning it almost seems like there's a delayed market reaction.
The former chief executive of UnitedHealth Group will forfeit more than $400 million worth of stock options and retirement benefits under a settlement following a probe into the health insurer's options practices, the company said on Thursday.
My inbox is flooded this morning with research notes from analysts in the wake of yesterday's FDA panel meeting on Genentech's Avastin for breast cancer. The advisory committee voted 5-4 against recommending approval of the drug for that use. The FDA usually follows the advice of its outside panels of experts, but in close votes like this one it's not unheard of for the agency to go the other way.
Regular blog readers are well aware of my relentless pursuit of big CEO interviews. So, I wanted to give the backstory to a surprising CEO cancellation of a previously scheduled and confirmed interview today by Bristol-Myers Squibb. A few weeks ago, my producer Ruth and I got tentative confirmation from a Bristol spokesman that the relatively new CEO Jim Cornelius would finally do his first TV interview since taking over the company last year.
I don't know how they all got clustered together--maybe so many of the major pharmaceutical companies meet with Wall Street in early December so everyone can then take off on long vacations--but my hands are full with three big pharma events in as many days. Yesterday, Merck put out guidance.
Shares of Dow component Merck are trading lower in the very early going this morning after the country's second-biggest drug company didn't blow people away with its 2008 financial guidance. Merck puts out its new forecast a week ahead of its annual analyst meeting, so it can focus more on its drug development pipeline at the event.
Nearly half of U.S. doctors don't report incompetent colleagues, according to a first-of-a-kind survey being published in a medical journal.
One of the most hated stocks on Wall Street is one of Cramer’s favorite turnaround stories. Investing can be confusing. Luckily, Cramer has mapped out some road rules for all you Home Gamers trying to navigate the jungle that is Wall Street. Think of it as "Mad Money 101" –- some fundamental advice to keep in mind as you play the market. Whether you're a first time investor or a seasoned financier, it's always good to remember the basics.
Although the stock movement this morning is not reflecting it, the latest developments in Amgen and Genentech's efforts to come up with new treatments for breast cancer are emblematic of the opposite direction these California-based biotech behemoths and rivals are headed.
Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), the Chairman of the Senate's Special Committee on Aging, has made public a copy of a letter he recently sent to Genentech's President of Product Development, Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann--a frequent guest on CNBC--regarding the company's new policy on the use of the eye drug Lucentis.