BOSTON, Mass. (
) --Labor Day is finally upon us. Summer is over. Here are some biotech events to watch for next week:
Investor conference season kicks off in earnest, with three smaller banks holding healthcare conferences simultaneously.
Rodman & Renshaw
Robert W. Baird
will be gathering in investors in New York, while
Thomas Weisel Partners
occupies Boston. All three confabs begin on Sept. 9.
Small-cap biotech and drug stocks will be the main focus of all three events, so look for presentations from the likes of
among many others.
The Rodman conference wins for most star power, with a guest talk by former Fed chief Alan Greenspan and an opening night gala dinner on Ellis Island featuring a performance by Diana Ross. Now we know where Rodman is spending the commission dollars it's made recently from all those biotech fund-raising deals.
On the clinical data front next week, I'd expect
to release the data from its two pivotal studies of Prochymal in patients with graft-versus-host disease.
should be close to announcing phase III data on its obesity drug soon (perhaps not next week); same goes for
and its phase III drug droxidopa for orthostatic hypotension.
Next week's medical conference calendar includes the start on Sept. 11 of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) annual meeting.
Judge rules against Elan in Tysabri custody tussle
Well, sort of. A federal judge Thursday ruled the Irish drugmaker's new financing option deal with
Johnson & Johnson
violates terms of its existing partnership agreement with
for the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri.
The ruling is a black eye for Elan, but the ill effects won't likely linger. The judge gave Elan until Sept. 26 to amend the J&J deal so that it complies with the Biogen agreement. Elan almost certainly will do just that. If not, the company risks losing rights to Tysabri, its primary revenue and profit generator.
J&J's motivation for buying a minority stake in Elan was its Alzheimer's disease research program, so the judge's ruling on Tysabri isn't likely to scuttle the deal. Still, J&J could ask for a sweetener from Elan, so we need to wait for the terms of the re-negotiated contract.
Thursday's ruling is a win for Biogen, which argued successfully that Elan's granting financing rights to J&J violated its Tysabri collaboration and would make any potential future acquisition of Biogen more challenging.
One more thought: It's no secret that Elan and Biogen have not always seen eye to eye over the way Tysabri is marketed. At times, the relations between the two companies have been decidedly cool. Will this legal tussle drive another wedge between them? And if so, do Tysabri sales suffer?
-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston
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