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Pharmas Market with Mike Huckman

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  Monday, 22 Mar 2010 | 11:53 AM ET

Why Hospital & Drug Stocks Gain While Insurers Feel Pain

Posted By: Reed Abelson|The New York Times

With a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, Congress would be giving the health care industry as many as 32 million additional paying customers in the next few years.

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  Friday, 19 Mar 2010 | 11:25 AM ET

Democrats Have Votes To Pass Health Care: Hoyer

Posted By: AP and CNBC.com

U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said Friday that Democrats would have the support necessary to pass the healthcare reform bill in a vote expected Sunday.

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  Thursday, 18 Mar 2010 | 3:41 PM ET

Pfizer’s Kindler KO’d by Teva’s Yanai

Posted By: Mike Huckman
Teva and Pfizer
Teva and Pfizer

The 800-pound gorilla of one industry has beaten the 800-pound gorilla of another. Teva CEO Shlomo Yanai took on Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler and won . Not the sandal company Teva, which is pronounced tee-vuh, but the generic drug company Teva, which is pronounced teh-vuh. \(It’s Hebrew, by the way, for nature.\)

Usually these two Goliaths fight each other tooth and nail over drug patents. PFE’s lawyers work to protect them, TEVA’s attorneys work to break them. It’s just the nature of the branded and generic drug businesses these days. They’re just as much law firms as they are pharma firms. After all, Kindler was PFE’s top lawyer before becoming CEO.

But in this case, the two were duking it out over an acquisition target.

They both wanted a privately held generic drug company in Germany, named Ratiopharm . Teva and Pfizer have deep pockets. But the Israeli generic drug giant was apparently willing to dig deeper than Pfizer and came in with the highest bid.

Typically, when a publicly traded company like Teva goes out and spends around $5 billion to buy another company, investors will sell the stock. They figure profits will likely take at least a temporary hit, workers and management will be distracted by putting the two companies together, etc. But that’s not what they’re doing today with shares of Teva, which are trading at an all-time high. The company says the deal is going to add to earnings quicker than some analysts thought it would.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be doing a live interview with Teva’s North America CEO Bill Marth on “Squawk On The Street” shortly after 9 a.m. ET. We’ll be talking about the deal and, of course, health care reform coming to a head and what it will mean to Teva and the generic drug industry. Teva is fast becoming the generic drug industry. I guess, if the sandal fits, wear it.

  • Some facts about Teva's acquisition of Ratiopharm
»Read more
  Tuesday, 16 Mar 2010 | 1:48 PM ET

Lilly Mans Up Its Pipeline

Posted By: Mike Huckman
Axiron
Source: acrux.com
Axiron

I can hear the commercial now. “Underarm protection that literally makes you feel more like a man.”

The company that brought you the impotence drug Cialis is trying to strengthen its limp drug development pipeline by doing a deal down under.

Lilly could spend more than $335 million on the partnership with Aussie company, Acrux, on a deodorant-like product to treat low testosterone.

So, if the FDA approves it, you could put it on in the locker room with no one knowing it isn’t anti-perspirant/deodorant (unless, of course, they use it, too.)

But, here’s the rub.

The stuff is called “Axiron.” It’s just a hunch on my part, but I think Unilever , which owns the popular male-scent product line Axe, is gonna have a problem with the Axiron name. They’d both be making underarm products, one called Axe, the other Axiron. I’m betting Unilever , whose U.S. headquarters are right nextdoor to CNBC’s global HQ in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, will have an 'axe' to grind about that.

I didn’t know this until I read the LLY press release on my BlackBerry last night, but hypogonadism or low testosterone is estimated to affect up to 39 percent of men over 45. But most of those guys don’t know that’s why their sex drive or libido might be low. The companies say only around 10 percent of the men with the problem get treated for it. Lilly and Acrux cite data from IMS Health, which monitors drug markets, that show testosterone-boosting products have grown into a blockbuster category, with sales of more than a billion bucks a year. U.S. sales of gels account for $700 million of that.

Last September, Acrux said a late-stage study of Axiron showed 84 percent of test subjects had their testosterone levels back within a normal range after four months on the drug. Based on those results, the company filed for FDA approval in January.

Acrux and Lilly are now waiting for the FDA to make a decision. I, for one, can’t wait. Not for the product, mind you, but to cover it.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman

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  Monday, 15 Mar 2010 | 3:11 PM ET

March Monday Madness

Posted By: Mike Huckman

Of course, I'm off the day all heck breaks loose on the beat and stocks are making big moves all over the place.

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  Friday, 12 Mar 2010 | 7:55 AM ET

Judge to Hear Plan to Pay $675 Million to WTC Rescuers

Posted By: AP

A settlement that could pay up to $657.5 million to more than 10,000 ground zero rescue and recovery workers sickened by dust from the destroyed World Trade Center goes before a judge Friday, and he has said he favored a settlement but planned to analyze it carefully to make sure it was fair.

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  Thursday, 11 Mar 2010 | 12:19 PM ET

One More Day For Once-A-Week Byetta

Posted By: Mike Huckman

I can’t recall this much disagreement on Wall Street specifically about the timing and outcome of an FDA decision on whether to approve a drug.

Tomorrow is the day the agency is scheduled to announce if the first once-a-week diabetes treatment, a rejiggered version of the now twice-a-day Byetta, can come to market.

Lilly, Amylin and Alkermes are partners on it.

Some analysts and investors think the injection will get full-on approval. Others believe it’ll get the green light, but with safety warnings. Still others predict the FDA will ask for more data resulting in a relatively short delay. And there’s another camp that says the agency wants more study results which would put off a ruling even longer.

I don’t get involved in making predictions about stuff like this, especially when it involves the FDA.

»Read more
  Thursday, 11 Mar 2010 | 12:07 PM ET

Democrats, White House Close in on Health Care Bill

Posted By: AP

House Democratic leaders Thursday walked their rank-and-file members through last-minute agreements that could move President Barack Obama's overhaul of the nation's health care system a step closer to reality.

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  Tuesday, 9 Mar 2010 | 2:31 PM ET

A Tale Of Two Sectors

Posted By: Mike Huckman

I am not a numbers cruncher. In high school, for example, I elected to take what the Los Angeles Unified School District called "Algebra Experiences." It was a euphemism for, "If you can't hack Algebra 1 and 2 in a single semester, we'll spread it out over four semesters." And I still struggled with it.

So, thank goodness for the stock stat mavens here at CNBC.

»Read more
  Monday, 8 Mar 2010 | 4:04 PM ET

Eau de Glaxo

Posted By: Mike Huckman

It's not quite the same as waiting for new, entertaining commercials during the Super Bowl, but there was a noteworthy premiere during last night's Academy Awards.

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