Stocks closed lower as cautious comments from GM and Pfizer snapped the Dow's seven-day winning streak. "We've seen a really good move in the market and a little consolidation is healthy," said Bill Nichols, managing director of equity trading for Bear Stearns. "After being higher so much, a little profit-taking is only natural."
AstraZeneca has agreed to buy U.S. biotechnology company MedImmune for more than $15 billion in the biggest transaction since the creation of the Anglo-Swedish drugs group in 1999.
In a previous blog post, I wrote about what happened at this year's American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans when at least one doctor "leaked" the results of a major, highly anticipated study comparing drug-coated stents to old-fashioned heart drugs. The ACC had to move up the embargo time of the data by one day and reporters had to scramble to meet the hastened deadline.
The maker of the FluMist vaccine said it was putting istself up for sale, causing its shares to surge more than 10%. MedImmune also said that certain major drugmakers had already indicated they might be interested in a takeover.
U.S. biotechnology company MedImmune has hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale of the company, which has a market capitalization of $8.8 billion, people familiar with the situation said on Thursday.
AstraZeneca's Crestor cholesterol drug slowed thickening in the neck arteries of people at low risk for heart attacks and strokes, but it failed to reverse thickening as researchers had hoped it would.
Bristol-Myers shares have run up strongly in the past two weeks on talk of a Sanofi bid, closing at $28.52 on Friday to value Bristol-Myers at more than $56 billion.
When Pfizer announced its deeper cost cuts last week, including a total of about 10,000 layoffs, analysts said other big drug companies that had not already started restructuring would use the industry giant as the model. Sure enough, today AstraZeneca said it will get rid of 3,000 employees (5% of its workforce) over the next few years. Also: Gilead shares at record high.
It looks like the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) chose fractures as the theme of its new issue. One study shows that taking a popular osteoporosis drug for 5 years and then going off of it for 5 years carries a residual beneficial effect almost as if the patient stayed on the drug for all 10 years. Merck paid for the study of its #3-selling drug, Fosamax. The only exception was a 55% increased risk of fractures of the spine for those who stopped taking Fosamax. Doctors say that means...
Private generic drugmaker Ratiopharm International had challenged the patent, which led to the decision.
Stocks closed sharply higher on a big day for corporate mergers, but investors may turn their attention back to the economy on Tuesday.
Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler expressed disappointment about the failure of the company's new cholesterol drug but said Pfizer plans to continue growing through strategic acquisitions.