Healthcare Biz Recap: Merck’s NEW Drug Application, Abbott Labs LOSES

Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) new drug application for ridaforolimus, a bone cancer treatment, gets rejected by the FDA, as the agency says that additional trials are required to evaluate its effectiveness and safety. Rights to the med were originally purchased from Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA) in 2010, which firm would receive $25 million plus royalty payments upon approval.

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Abbott’s (NYSE:ABT) Humira drug is bested by Roche’s (RHHBY.PK) Actemra, which outperformed the former with patients who can’t take methotrexate. Humira earned Abbott some $7.9 billion in 2011, but that income might be at risk following the latest news. To make matters worse, a separate study showed that Bristol-Myers’ (NYSE:BMY) Orencia performed as well as Humira in patients who hadn’t previously taken a biological rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Shares of Questcor Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:QCOR) move up impressively as its executives speak at the Jefferies 2012 Global Healthcare Conference in New York, maintaining that the firm’s only product, Acthar, remains strong, and that the QCOR expects solid second quarter sales revenue. Also, prescription numbers for the drug have increased on a month-to-month basis for treating patients with both multiple sclerosis and nephrotic syndrome.

Presenters for Amedisys (NASDAQ:AMED) made a strong case for the long-term potential growth for the home-nursing sector at Jefferies’ Global Healthcare Conference Tuesday. The firm’s shares rose as investors are now informed of the idea that managed-care prospects are good and should be an increasingly greater driver of growth for the firm. The only downside is that AMED recognizes a lack of certainly over Medicare reimbursement in the near-term.

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