|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||19.70 - 19.95|
|52 Week Range||14.61 - 20.69|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.16|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||10.72|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.78 (4.07%)|
|1y Target Est||29.18|
Blueprint Medicines' (BPMC) NDA for avapritinib to treat PDGFRA Exon 18 mutant gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and fourth-line GIST is under FDA review. Other pipeline candidates also advance.
(Bloomberg) -- Agribusiness is increasingly turning to natural and sustainable alternatives to chemicals as consumers rebuff genetically modified foods and concerns grow over Big Ag’s role in climate change.At the heart of the trend are innovations that harness beneficial microorganisms in the soil, including seed-coatings of naturally occurring bacteria and fungi that can do the same work as traditional chemicals, from warding off pests to helping plants flourish, according to a global patent study by research firm GreyB Services.“Both entrepreneurs and investors are saying, ‘Hey, the writing is on the wall, we’re entering a post-chemical world,’” said Rob LeClerc, chief executive officer of AgFunder, an online venture-capital platform. “The seed companies who have billions in market cap are like ‘We need to do something,’ and everyone recognizes the opportunity.”Much of the handwringing over farm chemicals stems from the recent fate of glyphosate, the most ubiquitous weedkiller ever. Regulators around the world are tightening up rules around using the chemical, including Europe and Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of lawsuits that could result in billions of dollars in penalties are pending against Bayer AG over whether its glyphosate-containing product, Roundup, caused cancer. Bayer insists it’s safe, and some government agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say it isn’t likely to cause cancer in humans.The global fertilizer and pesticide market is around $240 billion, and grows 2% to 3% a year, according to Ben Belldegrun, a managing partner at Pontifax AgTech, a company that invests in food and agriculture technology. While so-called biologicals including biofertilizers, biopesticides and biostimulants are just 2% of that market, those have been growing closer to 15% a year for the past five years, Belldegrun said.Pressure for less chemical-intensive farming methods is coming from retailers like Walmart Inc., non-governmental organizations and consumers, who are throwing more dollars toward organic and other niche foods with environmental or animal welfare claims.As population increases worldwide, the demand for agricultural products is projected to grow 15% over the next decade with no change in the amount of land available for farming, according to a joint report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.“There’s a growing world population and how are we going to feed all of these people?” asked Craig Forney, assistant director for licensing and business development at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. “At the same time, we want to protect the environment. We need to use land better and use the resources better.”The answer, Forney said, is “intensified agricultural production to increase productivity of land and do it with minimal chemical support.”Patents give owners the exclusive right to an invention, and can indicate both where research funding is being spent and where companies or universities expect to generate revenue in the future.Companies like BASF SE, Bayer and Syngenta AG have patents on products using naturally-occurring microbes to help crops flourish even when there is low water availability, according to GreyB’s analysis. The microbes can act as catalysts to encourage growth. Biological-based fungicides and insecticides can also help reduce crop damage from insects, slugs and fungi.“Seed-applied biological products can extend the window of disease and pest protection, while some also provide alternate modes of action that can reduce the build-up of resistance, aid with nutrient management and reduce plant stress,” said Chris Judd, BASF’s global strategic marketing manager for Seed Treatment, Inoculants and Biologicals.Evonik Industries AG, Altair Nanotechnologies Inc., Covestro AG and startup Indigo AG have been active in obtaining patents and publishing research in the area of using microbes, as have universities like China’s Zhejiang University and Nanjing Agricultural University, according to GreyB.Likewise, thousands of patents are being issued to companies like BASF, Bayer and Dow Inc. for more natural ways of managing pests including pheromones that deter breeding and reflective mulches, instead of chemical-based insecticides.Germany’s Bayer, which bought agriculture chemical giant Monsanto Co. in 2018, sees “high growth potential” for biologicals, citing a challenging regulatory environment for chemicals and a growing emphasis on sustainability in agriculture. Bayer has a research and development team solely focused on them. The company also is hunting for partnerships to boost its portfolio. Benoit Hartmann, head of biologics at Bayer, said the increased investments show how the science around microbes has matured in recent years.In 2013, BASF acquired seed-treatment supplier Becker Underwood, which helped the company become a leader in biological agents to fight bacteria and fungi. Judd said the company sees demand for biologicals increasing but maintains that they need “to be compatible with an increasing array of chemistries and to have the ability to survive on the seed for adequate periods.”The increased patenting reflects a trend of researchers looking for ways to help promote organic and non-GMO farming, said Nicole Kling, a patent agent with Nixon Peabody who specializes in the biotechnology field.With biologicals, “You’re not introducing chemicals with the scare quotes around it,” Kling said. “You’re not doing anything that would harm the agricultural workers.”Researchers and companies are looking for new solutions for farming with less chemicals because organic farming, the most popular alternative to modern conventional farming, often results in lower yields. Still, demand for food continues increasing. Iowa State and other universities around the world, using government funding or in partnership with companies, are rushing to deal with those competing demands.“The hope is someday in the future they will merge and you will have organic and non-GMO products that are just as productive as Big Ag,” Forney said.That’s where things like precision agriculture to tailor the application of nutrients, artificial intelligence to monitor soil conditions and the development of new plant hybrids come in.Other emerging techniques that could boost yields while helping farmers use less chemicals is artificial intelligence, which is being used to analyze which seeds and crops can yield the most based on changing soil conditions and weather patterns on a farm. The promise of quantum computers would let companies use massive computing power to develop and analyze new seeds and fertilizers.Scientists also are developing new plant varieties, with applications for new varieties up 9% in 2018, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. China led the growth, with more than a quarter of the applications for new varieties.Much of the research in crop biotech is centered in the U.S., China, Germany, Japan and South Korea, though it’s being adapted to meet local conditions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, according to WIPO, an agency of the U.N.Demand for more food will be greatest in Africa, India and the Middle East. In the developing world, there is little food scarcity because “we did good things with all that ‘better living through chemistry,’” Kling said, referring to a play on an old DuPont motto. It has come at a cost, though.“We’re starting to see some of the effects of that -- all of this wonderful industrialization has contributed to climate change,” Kling said. “We’re starting to see people swing back in the other direction.”(Adds executive comment in fifteenth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Lydia Mulvany in Chicago at email@example.com;Susan Decker in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at email@example.com, ;James Attwood at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
It seems that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has finally started shaking off those heavy legal headwinds. Accusations of tainted baby powder was just the latest chapter in its long book of controversy. Dow's return was 22% return but the result highlights the company's resiliency in the face of heavy negative sentiment and severe legal headwinds.
Blueprint Medicines (BPMC) posts favorable initial data from the part 1 of phase II PIONEER study on avapritinib for the treatment of patients with indolent systemic mastocytosis. Stock rises.
France's health and environment agency said on Monday it was banning dozens of glyphosate-based weedkillers, most of the volume of such products sold in France, ruling there was insufficient data to exclude health risks. The ANSES agency was withdrawing the marketing licence for 36 products which would no longer be authorised for use after the end of next year, it said in a statement. The products accounted for nearly three-quarters of the volume of glyphosate products sold last year in France, the European Union's biggest agricultural producer, it said.
Germany's Bayer has agreed with plaintiffs to postpone its next two U.S. lawsuits over the alleged cancer-causing effects of its glyphosate-based weed killers to allow more time for talks on a settlement. The company, which is facing 42,700 U.S. plaintiffs, is widely expected to eventually buy itself out of the litigation, with analysts currently estimating the size of a future settlement at $8-$12 billion. Bayer agreed with the plaintiff to delay for about six months a case in the California Superior Court for Lake County scheduled for Jan. 15, a company spokesman said in a written statement.
The transaction is a securitization program sponsored by Bayer S.A. (Bayer Brazil, not rated), a subsidiary of Bayer AG (long-term rating Baa1, global scale, outlook negative). The transaction is a 3-year revolving securitization program to provide financing to agricultural producers and distributors of agricultural inputs to acquire defensives and other products provided by Bayer Brazil. The transaction has an overcollateralization trigger which prevents the acquisition of new receivables when the Senior CRA represents more than 85% of the non-delinquent assets, unless Bayer Brazil repurchases those delinquent assets in order for the Senior CRA to maintain the minimum overcollateralization level.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Drugmakers have spent years de-emphasizing heart medications in favor of higher-priced treatments for cancer and rare diseases. As America enters its most caloric season, it looks like that is starting to change, for now. Novartis AG made a particularly large commitment Sunday with its $9.7 billion purchase of Medicines Co. and its promising new cholesterol drug. Meanwhile, biotechnology company Amarin Corp.’s bet on its fish-oil-derived capsule Vascepa is starting to pay off: Its shares soared earlier this month after a Food and Drug Administration panel recently suggested the pill — which was shown to cut cardiac risk in a huge trial last year — be made available to millions of additional patients. Heart medicines are also key pipeline components or sales drivers at a number of big pharmaceutical companies as well, from Merck & Co. and Bayer AG to Pfizer Inc.Investment in cardiac medicines is positive for patients and public health; after all, heart disease remains the most significant cause of death in the U.S. There’s a reason that drugmakers had backed away, however. These companies will have to navigate a harsh market environment to keep this mini-renaissance alive. Effective heart disease medicines, including statins for cholesterol and drugs for high blood pressure, have become much cheaper as generic options have hit the market. That’s excellent for patients and health budgets, as expanded use of these drugs has been impactful enough to slow Medicare spending growth. But it makes things difficult for newer, higher-priced medicines to make inroads. Next-generation drugs need to prove they can add something on top of or substantially outperform cheaper options to have a chance at anything but niche success. They sometimes still struggle even if they do. Cardiovascular drugs take time to have an impact, and the American health-care system isn’t patient. People change health insurance all the time as they swap or lose jobs, pick a new plan, or have one selected for them. Health plans often focus on annual costs and don’t always want to pay extra for an uncertain benefit that might eventually save someone else money. That tendency is most pronounced in large markets, where rapid uptake of a new drug translates into substantial spending increases.Two relatively new cholesterol drugs — Praluent, from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceutical Co., and Amgen Inc.’s Repatha — are the most significant recent cautionary tales. They were both approved in 2015 with high expectations and are effective medications, but the market balked at their high price and threw up barriers to access. The result was a glacial launch. Sales remain sluggish even after major price cuts. Medicine Co.’s inclisiran lowers cholesterol at a similar rate by using the same drug target as those medicines but requires far less frequent dosing. Novartis will have to find out whether convenience is enough to command a premium price and avoid the same commercial fate. As for Amarin, a drug-price watchdog called Vascepa a rare cost-effective option for heart disease earlier this year. That doesn’t guarantee a rapid ascent to blockbuster sales. The drug’s future is partially in the FDA’s hands. The exact language of the agency’s expanded approval will help determine how many new patients will get access. The bigger part is arguably once again up to health plans. They will decide how strictly to interpret the FDA’s guidelines, and whether patients will have to jump through hoops to get the medicine. The size of the potential patient population may inspire them to clamp down, cost-effectiveness be damned. The barriers to heart drugs are navigable. Novartis was likely inspired to pay up for Medicines because it managed the feat with its heart-failure treatment Entresto. Sales of the drug started extremely slowly, but are now growing at a respectable clip. There is a clear opportunity in this somewhat neglected space. Profiting from it might require a high risk tolerance and an extra measure of patience. To contact the author of this story: Max Nisen at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Max Nisen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering biotech, pharma and health care. He previously wrote about management and corporate strategy for Quartz and Business Insider.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Department of Justice said late Thursday that Monsanto sprayed Penncap-M, which contained the banned pesticide methyl parathion, on research crops in 2014, despite knowing that the Environmental Protection Agency prohibited its use after 2013. It also said Monsanto, now part of Germany's Bayer AG, admitted it let employees enter the sprayed fields after seven days despite knowing it should have waited 31 days.
A Chinese national who worked for Monsanto before it was purchased by Bayer AG was charged in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday with stealing trade secrets for China, the U.S. Justice Department said. Haitao Xiang, 42, an employee of Monsanto and its Climate Corp subsidiary from 2008 to 2017, was stopped by federal officials at a U.S. airport before he could board a flight to China carrying proprietary farming software, the department said in a statement. "The indictment alleges another example of the Chinese government using Talent Plans to encourage employees to steal intellectual property from their U.S. employers," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.
Merck (MRK) and German partner Bayer's vericiguat reduces the risk of heart failure hospitalization or cardiovascular death in patients with worsening chronic heart failure.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- And then there were none.Almost exactly a year after Unilever NV announced the departure of chief executive officer Paul Polman, the consumer goods giant’s chairman Marijn Dekkers is stepping down with immediate effect. Nils Andersen, a non-executive director since 2015, will replace him.In one sense it’s a natural time for a change. Dekkers has overseen the CEO succession, with Alan Jope starting last January. Unless something goes horribly wrong, that should be off the agenda for some time. Yet it jars that the chairman is leaving the post immediately after filling it for just three years.Unilever says he wants to concentrate on his responsibilities as founder and chairman of Novalis LifeSciences, an investment and advisory firm for the drugmaking industry. Novalis recently raised $85 million and plans to invest in at least eight companies. The suggestion was that this didn’t leave much time for leading the board of Unilever, whose market value is 147 billion euros ($162 billion).Dekkers, a former CEO of Bayer AG, will stay as a non-executive director. It’s strange nonetheless that Unilever didn’t wait until its annual shareholder meeting in April before standing him down. It’s hard not to link the wholesale change at the top of the Anglo-Dutch company to its botched attempt to simplify into a single Netherlands-based organization.After this unification effort was abandoned last year, the future of Unilever’s dual-headed corporate structure is unresolved. Andersen will need to address this, especially if the company wants to spin off its food business or use its shares to make a big acquisition in the U.S. Having two classes of shares makes this more difficult.That the new chairman is neither British nor Dutch (he’s Danish) is helpful given that the future domicile will probably be on the agenda again. However, hiring an outsider would have been better still for tackling such a profound question; Jope is a Unilever lifer.The new CEO may now find himself confronted by a stronger chairman given that Dekkers was damaged by the unification debacle. Andersen has relevant experience too: He was chief executive of the brewer Carlsberg A/S between 2001 and 2007.Jope has a difficult enough task in accelerating sales growth, which has been stubbornly sluggish despite Unilever’s strong portfolio of brands and enviable emerging market exposure. Making a success of the company’s many acquisitions, from fake meat to premium laundry, is another priority. Integrating these businesses, often created by entrepreneurial founders, into the Unilever culture isn’t easy.Longer term, Jope and Andersen must decide whether to stick with the food business after Unilver sold its spreads arm in 2017, or whether to go all in on the faster growing beauty and personal care brands. If they do decide on radical change, it will need to be better executed than the plan to ditch the British headquartersTo contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Bristol-Myers' (BMY) label expansion application for Opdivo plus Yervoy combo regimen to include patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer, makes progress.