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Bruce M. Lehr
Dateline: Saint Louis
Marketing & Technical Sales with 20+ years in Biotech; http://www.linkedin.com/in/brucemlehr
Interests: pittsburgh steelers, st. louis cardinals, supply chain management, on-line marketing, raw material characterization, platform cell lines & processes, vaccine manufacturing, co-marketing & co-development partners, american & world history
Recent Activity
Ok folks. We can't get our way just holding our breath and stamping our feet to avoid paying for hepatitis C treatments. You see because we have pent up demand and lots and lots and lots and lots of people infected -- there is a HIGH initial cash outlay to treat and CURE these folks. We don't like that. We didn't plan for it in our earnings projections for 2014 or 2015. So as a leading private health care insurer, we'll just tell you that we're gonna have to raise your premiums $300 per person in the health care system... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Big Red Biotech Blog
According to Bloomberg, that list would include Perrigo Co., in Ireland and Actelion Ltd, in Switzerland. Both would offer US acquirers the chance to redomicile to friendlier tax environs and cut their corporate rates by up to 1/3. It's all the rage you know having already been done by the likes of Actavis, Jazz, Alkermes, Endo Helath and yes Perrigo. Not to mention recent deals by AbbVie, Mylan, and the failed (but not quite dead yet) Pfizer grab for AZ. For his part, Actelion CEO Clozel says he's not worried -- emphasized by today's Q2 earnings announcment that the company... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Well, yesterday Allergan beat Valeant to the punch so to speak when it announced that it would be cutting 1500 (primarily) R&D discovery jobs and not filling 250 open positions in a cost cutting move aimed at boosting shareholder value = code for keeping out of Valeant's takeover clutches. Analysts hailed the move as great for Allergan shareholder value regardless of their motives. Valeant cried foul sounding like an orchestra of scorched cats. With Bill "Activist Investor" Ackman taking to the airwaves to decry the move as 'Valeant-lite' and presumably less filling. Ackman also said he was 'scared to death'... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Big Red Biotech Blog
In a word, No! This post from Herpers Forbes site is self explanatory, isn't it? Where's the Bubble, Janet? Posted by Bruce Lehr July 21st 2014. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Unless you were in a cave with some Japanese soldiers, you know that AbbVie and shire completed their deal in principal on Friday past. Thus the companies will combine with AbbVie paying out about $55B amd Shire shareholders will now own about 25% of the new combined entity. AbbVie will also partake in a share buy back program to boost things further, presumably paid for in part by its reduced tax rate to 13% and the $1.3 B in savings that should provide -- presuming Congress doesn't move to stop it before then. Ok, you can stop laughing now about... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Allergan today announced it would be cutting 1500 from its workforce and also 250 vacant positions as it continues to raise the stakes in its battle to resist takover by Valeant and its own Bill "Activist Investor" Ackman. The cuts will be largely born by the discovery units in allergan R&D. Of course, if Valeant bought Allergan then it most certainly would cut the discovery units in R&D, and probably also heavily in the clinical units of R&D. Such is the Valeant Way. So in this case, one could quote/paraphrase Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk by saying, "The needs of... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Big Red Biotech Blog
La Traviata fully lived up to its wonderful advanced billing at the Union Avenue Opera in its final performance for this year. The opera is filled with Verdi's beautiful music -- much of which will be familiar to the listener. The chorus scenes are grand and energy filled. It is... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Musings and Mutterings
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I had another good time at Tavolo V last night. I went there early to dine before going to Union Avenue Opera just up the street. It's casual yet the food quality is consistently high. The wait staff is cordial and attentive. We had Dave serve our table. He reminded... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Musings and Mutterings
Tuesday, Fed Chairman Janet Yellen remakred that biotech stocks were oversold. Almost instantly (and predictably), Nasdaq iShares Biotechnology Index plunged 4%. I wouldn't mind except I own a lot of biotech and pharma stocks. But co-founder of Arch Ventures, Robert Nelson, does mind and reminds investors to never never pull on Superman's cape, spit into the wind, or listen to professors about the stock market. Fed's Yellen is a biotech buzzkill. Investors should recognize that and act accordingly. See Herper in Forbes. Posted by Bruce Lehr July 18th 2014. Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Yesterday there was a report in Fierce Pharma regarding India placing price caps on a large number (>100) of big selling diabetes and heart drugs. These caps have hurt Sanofi's local sub already as it is a big player in these therapeutic areas. Their stock has already dropped 10% on the Bombay Exchange. But worse yet, Sanofi -- according to analysts -- could see revenue drops up to 9.5% and drops in profits by as much as 30%. According to Fierce, India expanded price controls from 74 to 652 drugs last summer and their sales fell by almost 8% as... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
We also see this morning that Sanofi apparently approached Abbott and Mylan about buying some of its older portfolio products in EU. In fact, they even talked to some private equity groups to spin these off. These products are no longer growing fast and are considered a distraction. Selling would give Sanofi some cash and they could focus their attention on more growth areas in their business. The products would yield rought $3 B in revenues for whomever bought them and for Mylan in particular would bolster its portfolio and EU presence even further on top of the Abbott deal... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
News today is that US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has asked the Congress to cut off tax inversion deals with new legislation -- AND -- to make that retroactive to May 2014. This news apparently scared some AbbVie and Shire investors enough to drive their shres down slightly after AbbVie effectively announced they would be acquiring Shire to achieve such a tax reduction end. Is there a hope in hell that Democrats and Republicans would agree on any topic in 2014? No chance. This effort will fall flat and no such bill should be considered a matter of concern prior... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch had openly worried about it being the last US based generics company who did not have a foreign domicile for tax purposes. She needn't worry anymore. Mylan snapped up Abbott's generic drug business outside the US -- mainly in Europe -- in a $5.3 B stock deal. Abbott will retain 21% ownership in the new company that will be domiciled in The Netherlands for tax purposes. Analysts again hailed this as a good deal for both parties. Abbott is freed from low growing generics and can concentrate its investment elsewhere. Mylan pickes up about $2 B... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Yesterday's reports all seem to affirm that Abbvie will acquire shire for approximately $53.7 B which represents nearly a 42% premium over Shire's share price before AbbVie's interest became public. The cash and stock deal will leave Shire's current shareholders with about a 25% ownership in the combined company. Analysts hail it as a good deal for both. Shire shareholders will be enriched. AbbVie will pick up a more diversified portfolio of orphan and rare disease drugs to make it less dependent on its mega-blockbuster Humira. AbbVie can also achieve its tax inversion goal and reduce its rates from 22%... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
We learned another lesson in UK takeover law yesterday when AbbVie was forced to retract any statements about key shareholders backing its current bid to acquire Shire. Why? Apparently, you can't just say this stuff in the UK unless you have it in writing from the aforementioned shareholders. Oops! Who knew? Apparently not AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez or his advisors. Analysts used the news (in my view) to trumpet that AbbVie needs to raise its price further to about 55 pounds per share or $55.4 B total to REALLY interest the shareholders and get the deal done. We'll see shant... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Press leaks from those ubiquitous "unnamed sources" indicate that Allergan is ready to announce budget cuts at its next earnings release, along with chops to the most "unpromising" portions of the R&D program, and also a plan whereby Senior management compensation will be more tightly tied to hitting some of those financial goals it laid out in response to Valeant unwanted takeover bid. Hmmm! One might ask oneself, why isn't this the norm for Allergan (or anyone else)? Why does it take a takeover threat -- especially one from such a ruthless cutter of R&D -- to spur management to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Bill "Activist Investor" Ackman announced his six new candidates to vie for position on the Allergan board. This is moving. Now, Ackman and Valeant CEO M. Pearson need only garner 25% of existing Allergan shareholder's votes to call a special meeting. At that time, they can offer their Band of 6 versus the current Allergan Board. If all goes to their plan, the pair will have a friendly board to accept the $53 B buyout offer that Valeant has on the table for Allergan. Pearson says they are almost there with their 25%. He says, somewhat arrogantly, "Both sides know... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Decision Resources has a new report that says cancer mAbs and immunotherapies will grow rapidly from its revenues of $1.1 B in 2012 to reach $9 B in 2022. Growth will be heavily fueled by anti-CTLA-4 and the newer anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors. Companies that will really benefit from this include BMS, Roche, AZ and Merck who are expected to garner up to 85% of this share. Combination therapies with these drugs and chemotherapeutic agents will also add to the impact. See PharmaTimes. Posted by Bruce Lehr July 8th 2014. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
AbbVie today upped its bid for Shire from $46 B to $51.5 B. The offer included $38.41 per share in cash, and 0.8568 shares of AbbVie for each Shire share. Many analysts had predicted that AbbVie could get this deal done if they breached the $51 B mark. Now others are saying it will take $55 B. AbbVie for its part has spoken to the top 20 or so shareholders of Shire stock and likely has a better read. AbbVie has also indicated a willingness to go hostile if required. We'll see. I doubt Shire will get away at this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Just came back from lunch at Jax Cafe in Benton Park neighborhood -- at corner of Salena and Pestalozzi Streets. Yum! I had another great lunch in ordering the Doctor with a side of homemade cole slaw. The Doctor is a fried chicken breast served on thick slices of toast... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Musings and Mutterings
Genentech plunked down $725 M upfront (an unusually large amount for them) to buy Seragon and its lead drug for breast cancer. They are touting the new technology as potentially "redefining the standard of care for hormone positive breast cancer". The new approach is called SERD -- selective estrogen receptor degraders. Current therapies try to block the estrogen receptor in receptor positive breast cancer patients but eventually the patient becomes resistant, and in some cases the treatment may then speed the disease. SERDs work by actually degrading the receptors and thereby block their signalling abilities. The Seragon lead SERD is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
Ok. We've been debating for a while now whether to use the International Proprietary Name (INN) or a distinct new name for biosimilars. Not surprisngly, the innovator companies (pharma and biotechs) want to see a new name distinct from that of the originator drug. The biosimilar producers want the INN. This appears to be about either erecting a further hurdle to substitution by requiring a unique name or making that process easier which is predicted to speed adoption of biosimilars in the US. Now we have a coalition of 32 major pharmacies (Walgreens, National Assn of Chain Drugs groups), health... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
"A Man of true science uses but a few hard words, and those only when none other will answer his purposes; whereas the smatterer in science thinks that by mouthing hard words he proves that he understands hard things" -- Herman Melville Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at The Big Red Biotech Blog
I have enjoyed the World Cup up till now, and especially the USA's mini-run. And, I do plan to watch more matches up through and including the Finals (July 13th?). But, does that mean I'm now a soccer (football) fan? Nah! No way. I'll revert back to Cards and Rams... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Musings and Mutterings
This restaurant never fails to delight. I went there this week with my daughter and her boyfriend from grad school. We sat in a nice booth --- I like Mango's darker interior with good use of woods, glass and candles with white table cloths for decor and mood. It can... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2014 at Musings and Mutterings