E Ben Franklin And Pope Francis

With further risks of A$ weakness, this sounds like an argument for lowering our stakes in Vale which could have trouble competing with Rio Tinto or BHP or the new Hancock Prospecting iron ore exports from Oz. The counter-argument is first that Carajas ore is being mined more cheaply by Brazilians than any iron can be extracted in Australia, and its shipment by rail to ports and thence by Valemax carriers is now being funded not by Vale but by its investor partners.

Also, VALE was early in selling off other assets including mine projects in Africa and non-ferrous mines in Canada, helping to ease the impact of the strong dollar on its debt. This is something Brazilian companies know how to do from past experience.

Finally, Vale can call upon special support from Brasilia as a national champion, so cheap money from BNDES is available if required. Cf fundnotes below.

*More from the Far East. WeChat Taiwanese operations may be shut down because they violate limits on Chinese investment investment in Taiwan. WeChat is an Internet site owned by Tencent, TCTZF. There is reason for hope, however. Other supposed violators of controls on Internet operations by Chinese companies like Alibaba and phone firm Xiaomi managed to continue to offer services in Taiwan despite being banned, from Chinese language publications translated by a new Taiwan source.

Drug Deals

*Anonymous contributor “PLM” (also a former French railway from Paris to the Riviera whose posters are hot) wrote at length in Seekingalpha.com about Novo Nordisk facing a challenge it deciding whether or not to proceed with phase 3 trials of an oral GLP-1 (semaglutide) agonist developed with Emisphere Technologies of Tarrytown NY. The phase 2 trials were reportedly a success, and EMIS backers have been demanding more information at NVO investor events without success. NVO will answer yes or no August 6 at its half-year strategy meeting, and meanwhile the EMIS speculations will have to .. tarry. What the Danish firm has to decide is whether the oral formulation work safely and how much will it cost to move to commercial production and commercialization of this oral diabetes pill. PLM is an EMIS booster who is drooling over the future royalties it can collect if Novo proceeds to phase 3 in Tarrytown.

*Teva now has gobbled up 4.6% of the outstanding shares of Mylan which will give it “standing” under Dutch law to call for a shareholders' vote on a takeover bid. MYL had no idea what it was getting into with its tax inversion last year. MYL's riposte it to do a latecomer file for a generic of Copaxone, TEVA's blockbuster for multiple sclerosis, which is about to lose patent protection after a US Federal Court ruling. The US Supreme Court sent the TEVA case back to the US court of appeals telling it to show more respect for Teva's rights than it had in an earlier invalidation. Now the court of appeals has again called the patent invalid.

Meanwhile Teva has been converting patients to a new longer-lasting version of the drug injected ony 3x/wk which still is patented. Copaxone had $3.1 bn of sales per year at its peak. Novartis (via sub Sandoz) with Momenta were deemed first-to-file and if the ruling holds and the patent expires Sept 1, they and not Mylan will begin to sell generic Copaxone when the patent ends. So this is PR. MYL CEO Heather Bresch said the Appeals Court ruling “underscores concerns with Teva's ongoing financial prospects.”

However MYL is not sure it will beat back the Israeli challenge and is trying to take over Perrigo to slash its cash horde, not so far welcomed.

Teva has announced a partnership with Microchips Biotech to use the private firm's microchip drug delivery system for Teva drugs.

Its investigational monthly-injected drug to prevent migraines, TEV-48125, a monoclonal antibody against calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in phase 2b trials substantially reduced the headaches in sufferers compared to placebo. Patients in both groups were also allowed to take other migraine and headache meds in stable doses. TEV-48125 produced statistically significant improvements, drops of over 50% in migraine days for 53% and 59% of those respectively injected with 225 mg and 675 mg of the drug. Results will be presented at the American Headache Society annual meeting which begins today in Washington, DC. CGRP is also implicated in joint and heart diseases.

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