E No Memorial Today

I had planned to attend a Yizkhor (memorial) service today for four friends who passed in the last year, two of whom had lung cancer, Sylvia and Lydia. But my reform synagogue held the service last night and I failed to attend because in prior years I had no reason to.

So my plan to not file today was overcome by the Reform movement's decision to cut down on the number of non-working days at the start of the Jewish year. I did light a candle last night so that will have to do.

Today's blog is mostly good news, sold stocks crashing and bought stocks climbing, with good news about lung cancer to boot. We have news from the USA, Japan, Israel, Denmark, and Canada, and that's only about Pharmaceuticals. We have bad news from India about another company we used to own, about which there is a tale.


*Eisai of Japan (ESALY) is up today after its partner Biogen, BIIB, reported that more detailed FDA-backed study of their Alzheimer's drug aducanumab, a monoclonal antibody, produced data showing statistically significant reduction in symptoms at 78 weeks, at 23%. This means that the partners will file a new FDA NDA for the drug which clears amyloid beta from the brain. The earlier data was negative and the pair had discontinued new enrollments, but now the results are more favorable. ESALY also gains because the FDA demanded new data on another drug it developed, eribulin for advanced breast cancer. It opened up 41% but then fell back and now is only up 39%.

*Teva's roller coaster rise yesterday to $8.45 coincided with the Jewish holiday and the reaction in Tel Aviv was a day late. It opened down a bit and then fell further, but is still nicely over $8 after it reported that it had settled with two Ohio counties over the opioid epidemic, one covering Cleveland where I looked after my daughter after she had painful ankle surgery and was very carefully monitored for her use of pain-killers.

Teva will pay $20 mn in cash and donate $25 mn worth of Suboxone (generic naxalone) to the two counties over the next three years. TEVA also said it has reached agreement with attorneys-general of four US states to donate $23 bn in naxalone and pay a total of $250 mn over the next 10 years. However there are counties and cities which also have claims that were not addressed. I recently averaged up sharply on TEVA stock which I cannot sell because my basis goes back nearly 30 years. Moody's today said the framework deal is negative for TEVA bonds (we own two kinds, convertible, and straight) but the cash outlays are modest.

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