Healthcare Roundup – Moderna drops as company acknowledges allergic reactions to COVID-19 shot, Eli Lilly upgraded to buy at Mizuho on positive donanemab data

Published on: January 19, 2021
Author: Amy Liu

Moderna drops as company acknowledges allergic reactions to COVID-19 shot

Issuing a statement Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) acknowledges the reports of possible allergic reactions after vaccinations from one lot of its COVID-19 Vaccine. The company shares have lost ~4.3% so far, the steepest since the end of last year.

Moderna is fully cooperating with the California Department of Public Health in investigating the reported cases of allergies, the statement said, adding that it was unaware of any comparable adverse events related to the same lot or the other lots.

A total of 1,272,200 doses were produced in the lot with the batch number 041L20A which was shipped between January 4th and January 8th, the company said, and only 307,300 doses of the batch remain in storage and not yet distributed.

Earlier, New York Times reported that California’s epidemiologist had asked providers to halt inoculations from a batch of the Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine amid reports of allergic reactions.

Eli Lilly upgraded to buy at Mizuho on positive donanemab data

Mizuho Securities upgrades Eli Lilly (LLY +4.4%) to buy from neutral rating citing ‘significantly more upside as donanemab adds another important leg to the story.’ The price target is also raised to $222 from $164 per share implying ~16.3% to the previous close.

Lilly shares gained 20% in premarket trading last week after the company announced promising results from the Phase 2 TRAILBLAZER-ALZ study, evaluating donanemab in Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite the challenges Lilly and others in the industry have faced in Alzheimer’s drug development, the analyst Vamil Divan and the team are expecting a different outcome not only due to a potentially effective therapy discovered but also a properly-designed trial.

Even though the full results of the trial are scheduled to be released at a future medical congress, based on disclosures by the company so far and expert opinion, the analysts note that ‘risk/reward heading into the event is highly attractive.’

After the positive trial outcome by Lilly, the sector peers with experimental therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, including Biogene (BIIB -0.7%) and AC Immune (ACIU +3.9%), sharply rose in response.

Lilly teams up with Merus to discover T-cell re-directing antibody therapies

Eli Lilly’s (NYSE:LLY) R&D group Loxo Oncology (NASDAQ:LOXO) and Merus (NASDAQ:MRUS) announce a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement that will leverage Merus’ proprietary Biclonics platform along with the scientific and rational drug design expertise of Loxo Oncology (LOXO) at Lilly to research and develop up to three CD3-engaging T-cell re-directing bispecific antibody therapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merus will lead discovery and early stage research activities while Loxo Oncology at Lilly will be responsible for additional research, development and commercialization activities.

Merus will receive an upfront cash payment of $40M, an equity investment by Lilly of $20M in Merus common shares, up to $540M in milestones per product, for a total of up to ~$1.6B for three products, as well as tiered royalties ranging from the mid-single to low-double digits.

Biotechnology COVID-19 Healthcare Services Life Science Pharmaceutical