Top Biotech Stocks to Watch Today: Allergan, Arena Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb

Today's top stories in biotech and health care.

Jul 10, 2014 at 8:54AM


Let's take a look at today's top stories in biotech and health care. Keep an eye out for Allergan (NYSE:AGN), Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA), and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY)

Allergan looking to "upsize" to fight takeover bid
It's no secret that Allergan has been attempting to avoid a takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX). And recent events such as a special meeting of Allergan shareholders to discuss Valeant's offer suggests that management may end up losing this fight before much longer. 

Even so, Allergan's CEO David Pyott isn't going down without a fight. In an interesting turn of events, Pyott announced yesterday that the company is looking at a "sizable" acquisition that could end Valeant's hostile takeover bid.

Although the details of Pyott's plan haven't been made public, Shire's (NASDAQ:SHPG) name popped up as a possible target. Shire is presently mired in its own acquisition talks with AbbVie that are starting to reach fever pitch. Overall, I think Allergan may be down to its last cards here and talk about acquiring a similarly sized company looks more like a Hail Mary than a viable strategy to avoid a takeover. 

Arena announces completion of increased Belviq sales force
Shares of Arena are up slightly in premarket this morning after announcing that its marketing partner Eisai has completed its planned increase of 200 additional sales reps for the duo's fat-fighting pill Belviq. This increase is part of a broader relaunch effort of the drug after it has repeatedly posted disappointing prescription and sales numbers, following its initial commercial launch last year.

With Orexigen Therapeutic's rival drug likely to reach the market later this year, Eisai's renewed marketing efforts are coming at a pivotal time in the drug's life cycle. Put simply, this may be the last major effort to push the drug as a treatment for chronic obesity, as it stands. If this effort fails to dramatically improve the drug's commercial performance, I think the companies will wait for a label expansion to be approved before using any more resources to try to increase sales. 

Bristol-Myers to submit nivolumab for regulatory approval as a melanoma treatment
Bristol-Myers announced this morning that its plans on filing a Biologics Licensing Application for its closely watched PD-1 inhibitor called nivolubmab in the third quarter, as a potential treatment for advanced melanoma that has previously been treated with Yervoy or a BRAF inhibitor regimen.. Bristol-Myers is also in the process of completing a rolling submission for the drug as a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

In its press release, Bristol-Myers proposed the trade name Opdivo, if nivolumab is granted approval. Bristol-Myers is also developing nivolumab as a potential treatment for renal cell carcinoma, head and neck cancer, glioblastoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Shares are presently unchanged in response to this news. 

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George Budwell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool owns shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals. 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

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This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

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KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't 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.

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