For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – September 10, 2012 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Celgene Corporation (CELG), Amgen (AMGN), Pfizer (PFE), Dow Chemical (DOW) and EI DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DD).
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Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:
Pipeline Progress at Celgene
Recently, Celgene Corporation (CELG) announced encouraging data from two phase III studies (PALACE-2, PALACE-3), which evaluated its candidate apremilast in patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis at 20 mg and 30 mg dosages.
The encouraging pipeline-related news had a positive impact on Celgene’s stock price. Psoriatic arthritis refers to a painful, chronic inflammatory disease, associated with psoriasis (a skin-related disorder).
The randomized, placebo-controlled studies are evaluating patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis, who had a history of failed treatment by oral disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and/or an anti-tumor necrosis factor (:TNF) agent. The patients were treated with apremilast either as a monotherapy or in conjunction with other antirheumatic therapies. We note that positive results from the other phase III study (PALACE-1) of the program were disclosed by Celgene in July 2012.
Results from all three studies revealed that treatment with apremilast resulted in improvements in various measures of physical function through week 24. Furthermore, treatment with the candidate was found to be safe. Celgene stated that the extension phase of the study will remain blinded until all patients have completed week 52. Celgene intends to present complete data from the studies at appropriate medical conferences.
Celgene intends to seek US approval for apremilast in the psoriatic arthritis indication based on data from the PALACE program in the first half of 2013. Celgene is also evaluating apremilast in patients suffering from moderate-to-severe psoriasis.
Celgene intends to seek EU approval for apremilast in the psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis indications in the second half of 2013. Apremilast, on approval, would compete with drugs such as Amgen/Pfizer’s (AMGN /PFE) Enbrel in the market for inflammatory diseases.
Moreover, Celgene also presented positive data from a phase II study, which evaluated apremilast as a treatment for Behcet's disease. Celgene intends to submit marketing applications for apremilast in Behcet's disease, a rare inflammatory disorder, in multiple nations.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Celgene. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short-run.
Dow Revamps Business Structure
Dow Chemical (DOW) is remodeling its business structure and setting up an executive committee. The Michigan-based company said that the move will help it to deliver better results in a challenging environment and provide it with an optimal structure that will allow it to better serve its customers and build markets globally.
The company noted that it will immediately do away with the current business division structure and move to a “Global Business Unit” model that will have business presidents. The business presidents, who will report to a new executive committee, will be responsible for delivering incremental earnings as well as the advancement and execution of the company's strategy.
The five-member executive committee will frame the overall direction and strategy for the company, optimize resources and monitor and deliver results. The committee will be headed by Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and CEO. It also includes executive vice presidents James R. Fitterling, Joe Harlan and Howard Ungerleider. The company will announce the business presidents shortly.
Dow posted lackluster second-quarter 2012 results on July 26, with both revenues and earnings largely missing the Zacks Consensus Estimates. The results were hit by the beleaguered economic conditions in Europe and weak demand.
The company witnessed slowing economic activity in the second quarter, leading to frail demand for its products. It contends with soft electronics and construction end-markets and is facing challenges in Western Europe due to the prevailing recessionary conditions.
Dow sees lower-than-expected recovery in global economy in second-half 2012. The company continues its cost-reduction initiatives under its “Efficiency for Growth” program to cope with the difficult macroeconomic environment.
Dow, which competes with EI DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DD), currently holds a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold). We currently have a long-term Underperform recommendation on the stock.
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