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Analyst Blog

It was all about AbbVie (ABBV - Analyst Report) this past week in the biotech sector with the company finally succeeding in its efforts to make Shire (SHPG - Analyst Report) agree to its acquisition proposal. Other news making it to the headlines include encouraging data from Amgen’s (AMGN - Analyst Report) pipeline and breakthrough therapy status for InterMune’s lung disease drug.

Apart from the AbbVie deal, it was an uneventful week for the biotech sector with the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index gaining 0.54% (See the last biotech stock roundup here: AbbVie Woos Shire with Revised Offer, Sarepta Slips on Eteplirsen Data).

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1. AbbVie, which has been looking to acquire Shire for a while now, finally convinced Shire to accept its proposal late last week. The deal is valued at £31.83 billion or approximately $54.5 billion and makes AbbVie the latest to join a string of U.S. health care companies that have been looking towards overseas acquisitions to lower their tax rates.

AbbVie will not just lower its taxes through this acquisition; it will also boost its product portfolio significantly. This acquisition is very important for the company, which was mainly dependent on a single drug, Humira, for growth (Read more: AbbVie Set to Acquire UK-Based Shire in Q4)

2. Amgen’s shares were up 2.5% on positive data on its phase III candidate, AMG 416. AMG 416 is being developed for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), receiving hemodialysis. SHPT is a common and serious condition that is often found in patients with CKD -- it is estimated to affect a large number of the 2 million people receiving dialysis across the world. AMG 416 met the primary and secondary endpoints in the study. (Read more: Amgen's AMG 416 Succeeds in Phase III, Shares Up)

3. The FDA granted breakthrough therapy status to InterMune’s lung disease drug, Esbriet, which is currently under priority review. Breakthrough therapy status, a new designation that became effective after Jul 9, 2012, is designed to cut short the development time of promising new treatments. (Read more: InterMune's Esbriet Gets Breakthrough Designation)

4. Alkermes initiated a phase I study on its experimental multiple sclerosis treatment, ALKS 8700. ALKS 8700, a novel monomethyl fumarate (MMF) molecule, has been designed to convert quickly and efficiently to MMF in the body. It is expected to offer differentiated features compared to Biogen’s (BIIB - Analyst Report) Tecfidera. (Read more: Alkermes' Pipeline Development Impresses, Key Updates Ahead)

5. Regeneron and partner Bayer announced encouraging two-year data on blockbuster eye drug Eylea from the phase III VIVID-DME trial conducted for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (Read more: Bayer/Regeneron Continue to Progress with Eylea).

Performance

Last week, Alexion (ALXN - Analyst Report) led the major biotechs with its price increasing 4.77%. Amgen was a close second with shares gaining 3.64%. Biogen was the biggest loser with shares declining 2.67%, followed by Regeneron (down 1.96%). Alexion was the biggest gainer over the last six months (up 19.34%) as well.

Company Last Week Last 6 Months
AMGN 3.64% -1.58%
BIIB -2.67% -2.21%
GILD 0.37% 8.70%
CELG -0.14% 1.96%
REGN -1.96% 3.60%
ALXN 4.77% 19.34%
VRTX 1.25% 16.19%

What’s Next in the Biotech World?

The rest of this week should be highly eventful with several companies like Gilead (GILD - Analyst Report), Celgene and Alexion expected to report second quarter results.

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