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Biotech and Pharmaceutical News: Walgreen Profits Fall in Q4

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Plus, J&J, Eli Lilly, and Boehringer tout favorable data, and more!

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This column highlights the past week's most important biotech and pharmaceutical news and commentary from around the Web.

Potential Traders
Link:
Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) Hits New High But Closes Down after Mix Results
"Despite new 52-week high, Walgreen Company's (NYSE:WAG) shares were unable to close up after the release of financial results. The company posted a quarterly net income of $353 million or $.39 a share, down as compared to $792 million, or $.87, last year."

Wall Street Journal
Link:
Court Sentences Abbot for Off-Label Promotion
"A federal court in Virginia formally sentenced Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) for its off-label promotion of its antiseizure drug Depakote, ordering it to pay $700 million as part of a previously announced $1.6 billion settlement....Abbott was ordered to pay a criminal fine of $500 million, forfeit another $198.5 million, and pay $1.5 million to the Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit..."

Nasdaq Analyst Blog
Link: WAG Buys Cystic Fibrosis Stake

"To negate the impact of the initial contract loss with Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) as well as to win back former Express Scripts clients and stimulate customers' demand amidst a challenging macroeconomic scenario, drug retailer Walgreen has been taking a number of strategic steps...formed a new alliance with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in order the specialty pharmacy market that holds high growth potential."

Businessweek
Link: AstraZeneca Suspends Share BuyBack Amid Strategy Review

"AstraZeneca Plc (NYSE:AZN) suspended share buybacks as the board and new Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot review strategy at the UK drugmaker, prompting renewed speculation that the company will embark on larger takeovers...The decision to stop repurchasing shares gives the drugmaker more flexibility to undertake a big acquisition, said Brian Bourdot, an analyst at Barclays Plc's (NYSE:BCS) investment-banking unit in London."

Wall Street Cheat Sheet
Link:
Pfizer: Here's How We are Combating Generic Drugs
"As generic competition slashes sales of top-selling drugs, the development of new drugs has become essential for Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY). The approval of their new anti-clotting drug, Eliquis, by European Union regulators could hand the pharmaceutical manufacturers a billion-dollar blockbuster."

FierceBiotech
Link:
J&J, Lilly and Boehringer Tout Data on SGLT2 Drugs for Diabetes
"Contenders in a race to develop drugs in a new class of blood-sugar lowering meds presented data from key studies today, showing the promise of the SGLT2 inhibitors...Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) offered data from two late-stage studies of canagliflozin, which is under FDA review, while partners Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Boehringer Ingelheim showed off more evidence of the efficacy on their SGLT2 drug empagliflozin from an analysis of data from a pair of mid-stage studies."

Reuters
Link:
Sanofi to Buy Colombian Drugmaker Genfar
"Giant French pharmaceutical maker Sanofi SA (NYSE:SNY) said Tuesday it would buy Colombian drugmaker Genfar to expand its product portfolio in South America. Genfar is Colombia's second-largest manufacturer of generic drugs with sales of $133 million last year, of which 30% was generated outside the country, Sanofi said in a statement announcing the purchase."

RTT News
Link:
Roche Says FDA Grants CLIA-waived Status to CoaguChek XS Plus System
"Roche (PINK:RHHBY) announced Monday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA has granted CLIA-waived status to the CoaguChek XS Plus system, a point-of-care anticoagulation monitor that offers connectivity and data management tools to help healthcare professionals manage PT/INR (blood clotting time) testing."

Chicago Tribune
Link: Merck's Once-a-Week Diabetes Drug Effective in Clinical Study

"An experimental once-a-week drug for type 2 diabetes being developed by Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK) proved effective in lowering blood sugar levels in a mid-stage clinical trial, according to data presented on Wednesday. The pill, known as MK-3102, is from the same class of medicines as Merck's successful daily diabetes drug Januvia, known as DPP-4 inhibitors."

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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