Wednesday’s Top Biotech Stories: Roche, Zogenix, and Aratana Therapeutics

Roche, Zogenix, and Aratana Therapeutics could be the top health care stocks to watch this Wednesday morning. Here’s why.

Jul 2, 2014 at 9:08AM


Let's take a look at three stocks -- Roche (NASDAQOTH:RHHBY), Zogenix (NASDAQ:ZGNX), and Aratana Therapeutics (NASDAQ:PETX) -- which could all loom large in health care headlines this Wednesday morning.

Roche plans to acquire Seragon for up to $1.7 billion
Roche has just announced plans to acquire Seragon, a breast cancer research company, for $725 million. Roche could pay an additional $1 billion based on the new subsidiary's future performance. Seragon was spun off of Aragon Pharmaceuticals when the latter was acquired by Johnson & Johnson.

Seragon has a portfolio of next-generation oral selective estrogen receptor degraders (SERDs), which could potentially treat hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. Seragon's lead drug candidate, ARN-810, is currently in phase 1 trials for patients with late-stage estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer. ER+ breast cancer accounts for roughly 80% of all breast cancer cases.

Roche's three main breast cancer treatments are Herceptin, Kadcyla, and Perjeta. Herceptin, a blockbuster treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer (15% to 20% of all breast cancers), generated 6.08 billion Swiss Francs ($6.8 billion) in sales in 2013. Kadcyla, which was approved in the U.S. and Europe last year, is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) version of Herceptin, and acts as a "cancer smart bomb" which increases Herceptin's efficacy by injecting infected cells with chemotoxins.

This is notably Roche's third recent major acquisition. In May, Roche agreed to pay $450 million for IQuum, a maker of medical testing equipment. Last month, it acquired DNA sequencing company Genia Technologies for $350 million.

Zogenix plans to submit an sNDA for tamper-resistant Zohydro
Zogenix is up 10% in pre-market trading, after the company announced plans to submit an sNDA (supplemental new drug application) for a next-generation version of Zohydro which makes the drug more tamper resistant. If approved, the new version of the drug could be launched by early 2015.

The lack of tamper resistant technology in the original version of Zohydro ER, which was approved by the FDA last October, has been a controversial issue which has helped cause Zogenix's stock slump of more than 40% over the past six months.

Zohydro (an extended-release version of hydrocodone) is a painkiller which can be ten times as potent as Vicodin. The controversial history of opioid painkillers in the U.S. has caused 29 state governments to urge the FDA to reconsider Zohydro's approval.

Aratana submits a product license application for AT-014
Aratana Therapeutics has just submitted a product license application with the USDA for AT-014/ADXS-cHER2, its cancer immunotherapy for dogs. Aratana is partnered in the development of the drug with Advaxis.

AT-014 has potential implications for human cancers as well (although it's only in preclinical development for pediatric osteosarcoma), so the drug could have some interesting opportunities. The current standard of care for dogs with bone cancer is the amputation of the leg followed by chemotherapy. In a clinical study of 21 dogs treated with AT-014 after the standard of care, the treatment showed a statistically significant prolonged overall survival benefit. AT-014 is one of Aratana's 18 pipeline product candidates.

Neither Aratana nor Advaxis has any marketed products. Aratana went public last July and has more than doubled since then.

Leaked: This coming blockbuster will make every biotech jealous
The best biotech investors consistently reap gigantic profits by recognizing true potential earlier and more accurately than anyone else. Let me cut right to the chase. There is a product in development that will revolutionize not how we treat a common chronic illness, but potentially the entire health industry. Analysts are already licking their chops at the sales potential. In order to outsmart Wall Street and realize multi-bagger returns you will need The Motley Fool’s new free report on the dream-team responsible for this game-changing blockbuster. CLICK HERE NOW.

Leo Sun has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers