Stocks bounced between gains and losses Monday as investors await inflation data and Federal Reserve minutes later this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) fell in the afternoon, led down by energy and consumer staples stocks. Communications services was the only sector to close up.
Today's stock market
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Akcea announces a new partnership
Shares of Akcea Therapeutics soared 31.3% after the biotech announced a licensing deal with Pfizer to commercialize AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx, a drug for certain metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IONS), which is a majority owner of Akcea after spinning the company off in 2015, rose 2.5%.
AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx was developed by Ionis using its RNA antisense technology, and is designed to lower blood levels of LDL-C cholesterol and triglycerides and to reduce liver fat accumulation. The drug is in one phase 2 trial for three rare lipid disorders and a second one for hypertriglyceridemia, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Pfizer is well suited to marketing a drug in this space, having won one of the biggest drug approvals of 2019 for Vyndaqel, another treatment for metabolic disease. AKCEA-ANGPTL3-LRx also complements drugs in the pharmaceutical giant's pipeline for nonalcoholic liver disease (NASH) and type 2 diabetes.
Akcea stock is partially recovering from a plunge two weeks ago after the surprise announcement of the departure of the CEO and other key executives.
HEXO falls on CFO resignation, analyst downgrade
It's been a rough year for marijuana stocks, and it got a little rougher today for Canadian cannabis producer HEXO following the announcement last Friday that Chief Financial Officer Michael Monahan had resigned. An analyst with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock from buy to underperform and lowered his price target from $6.76 to $3.01, and shares fell 6.4% to $3.80.
Monahan said he was resigning because he couldn't meet the needs of his family due to the travel requirements of the job. The fact that he had only been on the job since May raised questions in the minds of investors, though. The U.S.-based executive had been brought into the company to establish HEXO USA as part of its strategy to launch consumer products in this country. Monahan had been CFO of Nutrisystem before that company was purchased earlier this year.
HEXO named Vice President Steven Burwash, a Canadian with experience in aerospace and defense, telecommunications, and manufacturing, as the new CFO. HEXO has a joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing to develop cannabis-infused beverages.