Healthcare Roundup –Texas Governor warns on COVID-19, Curaleaf to acquire Grassroots

Published on: June 23, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

“Unacceptable” spread – Texas Governor warns on COVID-19

“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas,” says Texas Governor Greg Abbott, noting an average of more than 3.5K new cases per day of late, and a positivity test rate now topping 9%. “COVID hasn’t simply gone away.”

He urges his state’s citizens to wear masks as necessary. “We don’t have to chose between jobs and health. We can have both.”

His remarks appear to have at least touched stocks, with the S&P (SP500) sinking about 15 points in the last few minutes, now up just 0.3% on the day to 3,106.

Curaleaf to acquire Grassroots

Curaleaf (OTCPK:CURLF -1.0%) signed an amended agreement to acquire U.S. based vertically-integrated multi-state operator GR Companies (Grassroots) for a total of 118.9M subordinate voting shares of the former.

While the principal component of the prior consideration of 102.8M SVS remains the same, additional 16.1M SVS shares will be priced at the 10-day volume-weighted average price prior to closing of the transaction.

Post complying with local limitation on license ownership, some of the Grassroots assets in Illinois, Ohio and Maryland will be entitled for sale.

The deal is seen expanding Curaleaf’s presence from 18 to 23 states with 135 dispensary licenses and 88 operational dispensary locations. Also, it would have ~30 processing facilities and 22 cultivation sites.

With closing expected within few weeks, Grassroots security holders would own ~18% proforma ownership of Curaleaf on fully-diluted basis. Mitch Kahn, co-founder and CEO of Grassroots, would join the board seat of CURLF.

FDA accepts Allergan application for expanded use of Botox

The FDA has accepted for review a supplemental marketing application from AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) unit Allergan seeking approval to use Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) to treat the signs and symptoms of detrusor (bladder muscle) overactivity associated with an underlying neurologic condition (e.g., spina bifida, spinal cord injuries) in pediatric patients (5 -17 years of age) who have an inadequate response to, or are intolerant of, or for any reason unwilling to continue anticholinergic medication.

The agency’s action date will be in Q1.

Pfizer launches four late-stage studies on vaccine candidates

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has initiated Phase 3 clinical trials on vaccine candidates for preventing pneumonia, RSV and meningitis.

20-valent pneumococcal vaccine (20vPnC): Two studies, NCT04382326 and NCT04379713, will assess a four-dose series in healthy infants. The former is aimed at determining immunologic non-inferiority to Prevnar 13.

RSV vaccine (RSVpreF): Study NCT04424316 is assessing the vaccine in infants born to immunized women.

Pentavalent meningococcal vaccine (MenABCWY): Study NCT04440163 is assessing the vaccine in adolescents and young adults aimed at determining non-inferiority to licensed vaccines.

SINTX Technologies jumps on SARS-CoV-2 virus testing results

Nano cap SINTX Technologies (NASDAQ:SINT) is trading up 261% PM on SARS-CoV-2 virus results. The virus was inactivated when exposed to company’s sintered silicon nitride powder.

“The antiviral data are consistent with the well-established anti-bacterial properties of SINTX’s silicon nitride, and with previously reported effectiveness against several single-strand RNA viruses. Additional testing at independent, outside laboratories is in progress to corroborate the effectiveness of silicon nitride against SARS-CoV-2,” said CEO Dr. Sonny Bal.

Additional data will be published in a rapid-review forum.

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