4 Healthcare Stock Stories for a Monday Investment Checkup

Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK): Closing price $47.62

Merck’s decision to suspend sales of its Zilmax cattle feed additive has the unintended consequence of spawning a surge in demand for competitor Eli Lilly & Co.’s Optaflexx, which Lilly is advising some new customers that it cannot supply them for the time being, customers told Reuters.

Zilmax became the center of attention in the livestock industry in a very undesirable way after Tyson Foods Inc. said on August 7 that it will cease buying Zilmax-fed cattle for slaughter beginning in September. Tyson said it was worried that Zilmax could potentially cause health problems for some cattle. Optaflexx, sold by Lilly’s Elanco Animal Health and Zilmax are both part of a family of drugs known as beta-agonists, a class of non-hormone growth promoters that have been ruled safe for animals and humans by the FDA.

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Amarin Corp. (NASDAQ:AMRN): Closing price $6.32

Amarin announced Monday the submission of a Supplemental New Drug Application to the FDA, requesting approval for Novasep Group, S.A.S. via its subsidiary Finorga S.A.S. as an additional Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) active pharmaceutical ingredient vendor. Novasep forms part of the previously disclosed Slanmhor consortium with which Amarin reported a global supply agreement last year. Amarin a biopharmaceutical firm that is focused on the commercialization and development of therapeutics to improve cardiovascular health.

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Volcano Corp. (NASDAQ:VOLC): Closing price $22.17
Volcano reported Monday that it will purchase the Pioneer Plus diagnostic ultrasound transducer and percutaneous catheter from Medtronic, Inc. The agreement is structured as an asset purchase and should close by the end of August, subject to the usual closing conditions. Volcan Corp. develops and manufactures precision guided therapy tools created to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of coronary and peripheral vascular disease.

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Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY): Closing price $50.80

The vaccine arm of French drug maker Sanofi SA, Sanofi Pasteur, said Monday that its new influenza vaccine indicated promising resultsin people over 65 years old  in recent clinical trials. Results of a large-scale, multi-center efficacy trial exhibit a superior clinical benefit of Fluzone High-Dose versus the standard dose of Fluzone vaccine in preventing influenza.

In the study, Fluzone High-Dose vaccine was shown to be 24.2 percent more effective in preventing influenza in adults over 65 than Fluzone vaccine. Beyond that, the study results suggested consistent clinical benefit across the study years, influenza virus types, clinical illness definitions, and laboratory methods of influenza confirmation.

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