NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 17, 2018 / Both Johnson & Johnson and Idera Pharmaceuticals were big losers in Friday’s trading session. J&J tumbled on a Reuters story that alleged it knew about its baby powder having asbestos for decades while Idera announced data from an ongoing phase 2 trial that were actually encouraging.
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Johnson & Johnson
Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Johnson & Johnson shares were tanking on Friday, on a Retuers story that the company had known for decades that its baby powder has asbestos. The company saw its shares lose $40 billion in market value after the story, which according to Johnson & Johnson, had allegations made that were "one-sided, false and inflammatory” and an “absurd conspiracy theory.” Friday marked the worst trading day for the stock in over fifteen years and is going down as the fifth worst day in the stock's history. According to Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen, the sell-off was an "over-reaction." Even if J&J settled all 11,700 cases for $280,000 each, the highest per-case settlement amount among the cases it has followed, the total liability would be $3.3 billion, said Biegelsen. This is far less than how much shares lost. J.P. Morgan analyst Chris Schott also agreed that the legal risk probably won’t come close to the amount J&J lost in market value Friday.
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Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. shares were down 39.70% on about 1 million shares traded this past Friday. Trading volume was roughly double the amount the stock usually sees. It was on Friday that the company presented encouraging data from the ongoing phase 2 expansion of the ILLUMINATE-204 trial investigating tilsotolimod. This is the company's intratumorally-delivered toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist, in combination with ipilimumab (Yervoy®*). Douglas B. Johnson, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Clinical Director, Melanoma Research Program, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, remarked, "The results from this combination are among the most promising we have seen in this challenging population of metastatic melanoma patients who have not benefited from front-line immunotherapy. In addition to the response rate, observing over 76% of patients achieving disease control is impressive for such a difficult-to-treat patient population.” Company Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joanna Horobin, stated, "The continued positive results from this trial, a response rate substantially higher than expected with ipilimumab alone, and anti-tumor activity in both injected and uninjected lesions are exciting. These reinforce our conviction that tilsotolimod may overcome an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and, in combination with ipilimumab, could provide a treatment option when anti PD-1 therapy fails these patients. These data, along with the translational data, bolster our confidence in both the Phase 3 trial and taking tilsotolimod beyond melanoma."
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