Acadia shares plunge after CNN probes Nuplazid deaths; Agios shares surge on report that a shaky Celgene is scouting another buyout
→ Acadia $ACAD is feeling some heat this morning. CNN posted a story highlighting lingering concerns over the deaths and adverse events involving patients on Acadia’s Parkinson’s disease psychosis drug Nuplazid, sending its shares down 20% in early trading. The FDA had declared Nuplazid as a breakthrough therapy worthy of VIP treatment at the agency. The story highlights a nonprofit’s warning on 244 deaths involving patients on the drug in less than a year after its launch. Acadia says there’s no reason to believe the drug was linked to any of the deaths CNN spotlighted in its story, and the FDA says there is no reason to believe there is any safety issue that isn’t already covered by the label. Acadia is currently studying the drug for psychosis related to a variety of diseases.
→ The FT is reporting that Celgene $CELG is scouting some potential new M&A deals among the many biotechs it’s already partnered with. Agios $AGIO is reportedly on the short list, say the report, citing sources close to the talks. Evidently Celgene’s $9 billion Juno buyout hasn’t sated investors’ demand for an expanded pipeline. The big biotech has had some big setbacks recently on late-stage drugs, and the one-time poster child for the biotech boom is making some people nervous as they consider the impact a loss of patent protection on Revlimid would cause. Agios shares are up 5% this morning.
→ Shares of Verastem $VSTM got a bounce this morning on the news that the FDA had accepted its application for duvelisib and offered a priority review, setting a PDUFA date of October 5. The drug was virtually abandoned by its parent biotech Infinity after AbbVie dropped out of its partnership in the wake of weak data.