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Pharma Stock Roundup: NVO & LLY's Small Acquisitions, JNJ's Sunscreens Recall

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This week, Novo Nordisk NVO announced that it will buy Prothena Corporation’s ATTR amyloidosis program while Eli Lilly LLY bought its remaining stake in private biotech, Protomer Technologies J&J JNJ recalled five aerosol sunscreen products from the market due to “low levels” of benzene found in some samples.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

Novo Nordisk to Purchase Prothena’s ATTR Amyloidosis Program: Novo Nordisk announced a deal to acquire Prothena’s phase II ready antibody candidate, PRX004 (being developed for treating rare heart disease ATTR cardiomyopathy) and broader ATTR amyloidosis program. Per the deal, Prothena will get $100 million as upfront payment and will also be entitled to receive development and sales milestone payments, totalling up to $1.2 billion. Prothena has completed a phase I study on PRX004 in hereditary forms of ATTR. Novo Nordisk will develop PRX004 in ATTR cardiomyopathy, an often-fatal form of ATTR amyloidosis with significant unmet need.

Lilly Buys Remaining Stake in Protomer Technologies: Lilly announced the acquisition of private biotech, Protomer Technologies, which makes next-generation protein therapeutics that can sense molecular activators in the body. These candidates, including glucose-responsive insulins can sense sugar levels in the blood and activate it as needed. Lilly believes Protomer’s glucose-sensing insulins, based on Protomer’s proprietary molecular engineering of protein sensors (MEPS) platform, have the potential to improve both therapeutic efficacy and safety of insulin therapy, thereby changing the course of diabetes treatment. Initially, Lilly held 14% stake in the company and has now bought shares it does not already own. The potential value of the transaction is more than $1 billion.

Lilly collaborated with Banner Alzheimer's Institute as part of a plan to conduct a phase III prevention study on donanemab in participants at risk for cognitive and functional decline related to Alzheimer's disease. The study, TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 3, will evaluate whether donanemab can prevent clinical progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients who show evidence of Alzheimer's pathology but do not yet show any clinical symptoms.

J&J Recalls Aveeno, Neutrogena Sunscreens Due to Benzene Presence: J&J voluntarily recalled all lots of five Neutrogena and Aveeno brand aerosol sunscreen products due to “low levels” of benzene found in some samples of the products after internal testing. J&J said that benzene is not an ingredient in any of its products.

J&J said that people exposed to benzene daily, at the levels detected in the internal testing, by using these impacted aerosol sunscreen products, are not expected to face any adverse health consequences. However. the recall has been made out of caution and consumers are suggested to stop using the affected products.

J&J issued a statement mentioning that a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported in some people who have taken its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. J&J has updated its Emergency Use Authorization Fact Sheets to notify about the rare cases and symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The FDA approved J&J’s Darzalex Faspro in combination with pomalidomide and dexamethasone for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The approval is for patients who have received at least one prior line of therapy, including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor. Darzalex Faspro is the subcutaneous (SC) formulation of J&J’s blockbuster multiple myeloma drug, Darzalex (IV formulation). The regulatory applications were based on positive data from the phase III APOLLO study. This is the sixth indication in multiple myeloma for Darzalex Faspro.

FDA Approves Bayer’s Finerenone for Diabetic Kidney Disease: The FDA approved Bayer’s BAYRY non-steroidal, selective mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist, finerenone for the treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease associated with type II diabetes. The drug will be marketed by the trade name of Kerendia. The approval of finerenone is based on data from the pivotal phase III FIDELIO-DKD study, which showed that treatment with finerenone significantly reduced the composite risk of time to first occurrence of cardiovascular death or non-fatal cardiovascular events. A similar application is also under review in the EU.

The NYSE ARCA Pharmaceutical Index declined 0.4% in the last five trading sessions.

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return
Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Large Cap Pharmaceuticals Industry 5YR % Return

Here’s how the eight major stocks performed in the last five trading sessions.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research


Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

In the last five trading sessions, Pfizer PFE rose the most (2.1%) while AstraZeneca AZN recorded the maximum decline (3.9%).

In the past six months, Lilly has recorded the maximum gain (21.4%) while Merck MRK declined the most (6.5%)

(See the last pharma stock roundup here: GSK’s New Deal With Alector, MRK & AZN’s FDA Updates)

What's Next in the Pharma World?

Watch out for J&J’s Q2 earnings and regular pipeline and regulatory updates next week.


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AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Novo Nordisk AS (NVO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Bayer Aktiengesellschaft (BAYRY) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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