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Best of the Blogs, Biotech: Merck Exceeds Investor Expectations Thanks to Januvia and Janumet


Plus, Horizon secures approval for new arthritis and asthma treatments.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful biotech news from around the Web every week.

Bloomberg Businessweek
Link: Merck Profit Tops Estimates as Sales of Diabetes Drugs Grow
"Merck & Co. (MRK), facing generic competition in August to its top-selling asthma drug Singulair, reported second-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates on higher sales of the diabetes medicines Januvia and Janumet.

"Earnings excluding one-time items of $1.05 a share beat by 4 cents the average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Net income fell 11% to $1.79 billion, or $.58 a share, from $2.02 billion, or $.65, a year earlier, the Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based company said today in a statement. Revenue climbed to 1.3% to $12.3 billion."

Link: FDA Green-Lights Horizon Pharma's Rayos
"The FDA stamped an approval on Horizon Pharma's (HZNP) delayed-release version of prednisone, giving the Deerfield, IL-based outfit two drug approvals in as many years. And Horizon CEO Timothy Walbert, a former Abbott Labs (ABT) exec, plans to waste little time with a US launch of the corticosteroid for treating rheumatologic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis planned for the fourth quarter of 2012."

The Street
Link: Amarin Prescription Fish-Oil Pill Approved

"The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved a prescription fish-oil pill from Amarin (AMRN) that will be used to treat patients with very high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat found in blood."

Seeking Alpha
Link: Regeneron's Success Isn't Limited To Eylea

"Biotech stocks have been star performers this quarter, with high profile FDA approvals moving plays such as Onyx (ONXX), Vivus (VVUS) and Arena (ARNA).

"While biotech stocks volatility isn't for the meek, finding quality biotech companies with solid revenue and rich pipelines can be profit friendly, especially as investors shun earnings report risk in favor of news flow related risk. One such biotech company is Regeneron (REGN)."

Link: The FDA Will Approve How Many New Drugs?

"Maybe not as many as last year, at least according to Fitch Ratings. In a new report, the ratings service notes that the FDA is on track to approve fewer drugs than in 2011, when 30 new primary care and specialty medicines were cleared for marketing. And while 2012 started strong with eight new molecular entities endorsed in the first quarter, the total of 14 new approvals in the first half of the year lags behind the 18 new medicines in the same period in 2011."
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