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Healthcare Business Recap: St. Jude Beats Expectations, Novartis Settlement

Novartis — in an effort to settle a wage and hours class action lawsuit — decides to make a payment of up to $99 million to settle.

Wellpoint shares are down. It misses its fourth quarter earnings, and has lukewarm guidance for 2012. The firm’s largest expense increased 10% in the quarter. Medical claims were up to $12.43 billion.

Earnings Report: Wellpoint Inc. Earnings: Four Straight Quarters of Profit Drops.

Neurocrine Biosciences announces it has the fast track designation from the Food and Drug Administration for one its inhibitor product candidates. This potentially sets the firm up for a quicker road to final approval.

Roche’s  (RHHBY.PK) $5.7 billion hostile offer for Illumina is built on a loophole. In Illumina’s takeover, Roche will be able to vitiate ILMN’s provision for a staggered board by simply proposing to amend the by-laws at the next annual meeting to add another two Roche-sponsored directors. This is a scenario it completed successfully in its 2007 bid for Ventana.

St. Jude Medical shares are up after beating its fourth quarter expectations across the board. Despite the earnings beat and today’s price action, profit dipped 21% year-over-year.  Cardiac rhythm management sales declined due to concerns of overuse and a Department of Justice investigation. Like most of the industry, STJ continues to be challenged by pricing pressures from hospitals and more potential cuts in government health-care spending.

Don’t Miss: Abbott Laboratories Earnings: Keeping the Profitability Streak Alive.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com