Healthcare Biz Recap: Dendreon ROCKETS, Aetna CEO Speaks Out

The board of directors of Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) board okayed the buyback of an additional $2.5 billion shares Wednesday, which  will be negotiated either in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions. Shares moved up substantially and then backed off, at the news.

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Shares of Aetna (NYSE:AET) moved down on Wednesday, which might or might not have been related to the remarks of its CEO Mark Bertolini, who told the Wall Street Journal that the relationship between health insurers and providers must change, with each group doing what they do best. He added that if they can worth together, “…we’ll do far more in reducing health-care costs than anything the Affordable Care Act would do”.

Merck (NYSE:MRK) expects to file for FDA approval in 2012, for its potentially hot new insomnia drug suvorexant. The med performed well in two-late stage trials, helping patients fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer with than a placebo. Suvorexant is designed to minimize morning grogginess, but there are side effects: headaches and tiredness.

Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN) shares shoot the moon on chatter that Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) wants to buy the firm for $11 per share. Additionally, Summer Street begins its coverage with a Buy and a price target of $18, maintaining that the Street has “factored in an extremely bear-case scenario”, despite some worries regarding sales of Dendron’s Provenge prostate cancer drug treatment that disappointed. However, perceived Provenge growth and a “turnaround led by new management” have helped boost shares anyway.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has cleared the U.S. regulatory hurdle that allows its $19.7 billion acquisition of Synthes, which will now close on Thursday. Benefits of the deal will include the addition of 3 to 5 cents to 2012 earnings per share, which represents a turnaround from the prior estimate of a fall of 22 cents a share. Forecasts for 2013 show the addition of between 10 and 15 cents to earnings. The news precipitated three upgrades from different analysts: Jefferies to Buy; Raymond James to Outperform; and for the first time in four years (for J&J), JPMorgan upped its share rating from Neutral to Overweight.

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