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The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Confab Monday Morning News Dump

By: Adam Feuerstein | 01/13/14 - 09:06 AM EST

It's still pre-dawn in San Francisco, a few hours from the start of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, but that hasn't stopped biotech and drug companies from dumping a ton of news and announcements into the market. 

Here's a brief look at what's making headlines this morning:

GlaxoSmithKline  (GSK) dropped the Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug drisapersen, returning full development rights to Prosensa (RNA). No details yet on what Prosensa intends to do with drisapersen moving forward. 

Bloomberg has a good story on Intercept Pharma (ICPT) and its NASH drug OCA posted this morning, in which the company says it may seek a partner and experts caution that the data announced last week were promising but early. Intercept shares are down 26% to $327 in early trading. 

Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) guided to 2014 revenue in the range of $328-335 million, shy of $341 million consensus. 

Cell Therapeutics (CTIC) wins the Bullshit Press Release Award for the Monday of J.P. Morgan, announcing a faux agreement with Novartis (NVS) to reacquire rights to the cancer drugs Pixuvri and Opaxio. Of course, left unsaid by Cell Therapeutics is that Novartis never wanted these drugs. 

In perhaps the biggest deal announced Monday morning, the Genzyme unit of Sanofi (SNY) is expanding its rare disease therapy partnership with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) . Sanofi is buying a 12% stake in Alnylam, worth $700 million and priced at $80 per share. 

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) and Moderna partnering up to develop messenger RNA therapeutics for rare diseases. Alexion will pay Moderna $100 million up front. 

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) released some interim hepatitis C data: The combination of IDX-719 plus Olysio and ribavirin demonstrated an SVR4 rate of 85% in treatment-naive genotype 1b and 4 patients. More data later this year.

Galena Biopharma (GALE) acquires privately held Mills Pharmaceuticals

Incyte  (INCY) appointed a new CEO -- Herve Hoppenot, formerly of Novartis Oncology. 

Lexicon Pharmaceuticals (LXRX) restructured, cutting 45% of its employees. CEO Arthur Sands is leaving. The company essentially acknowledged that a promised partnership for the diabetes drug LX4211 isn't happening, forcing the company to move the drug into phase III studies on its own.

Clovis Oncology (CLVS) is moving cancer drug CO-1686 into three, phase III studies in 2014

Dendreon (DNDN) announced fourth quarter Provenge sales of $74.8 million vs. $72.9 million consensus. Dendreon's Chief Medical Officer is also leaving

Merck (MRK) has begun a U.S. approval filing for MK-3475, it's anti-PD-1 immunotherapy. The initial FDA filing will be completed in the first half of the year, seeking approval for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma who no longer respond to treatment with Bristol-Myer Squibb's  (BMY) Yervoy. 

Arena Pharma's (ARNA) (ARNA)corporate update for 2014 doesn't include pre-announcement of fourth quarter Belviq sales. 

I'll be live-blogging from the J.P. Morgan conference all day today. 


Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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