Business in Brief: Can-Fite Shares Plunge After Clinical Trial Fails

Migdal Insurance buys NIS 900 million of mortgages from Mizrahi Tefahot | Buyer for Teva’s U.K. generic drug portfolio seen emerging in coming weeks | TASE shares fall on global growth worries.

Bloomberg

Can-Fite shares plunge after clinical trial fails

Shares of Can-Fite BioPharma tumbled Wednesday, after the company said a trial of its CF101 glaucoma treatment failed to show any efficacy. The company said a Phase II trial conducted by its subsidiary OphthaliX, which trades over the counter, failed to meet its primary endpoint, showing no statistically significant differences between the treated group and those taking a placebo in terms of reducing intraocular pressure on sufferers’ eyes.

“We are disappointed that CF101 failed to meet its primary endpoint, and based on these overall results we see no immediate path forward in glaucoma,” said Can-Fit CEO Pnina Fishman. Since 2% to 3% of people over 40 suffer from glaucoma, CF101’s failure means the loss of a huge potential market for the company.  While CF101 was the company’s lead drug candidate, it is also developing treatments for liver cancer and for inflammatory diseases. Shares of Can-Fite ended down 17.8% at 4.16 shekels ($1.07). (Yoram Gabison)

Migdal Insurance buys NIS 900 million of mortgages from Mizrahi Tefahot

Migdal, Israel’s second-biggest insurer, agreed Wednesday to buy 900 million shekels ($231.5 million) of mortgages from Mizrahi Tefahot Bank for its pension fund clients’ investment accounts.

“In light of the low interest rate environment, we are working to diversify our investment portfolio and find new opportunities to invest in in assets that earn better returns than traded assets,” said Assaf Shsham, chief investments officer at Migdal. The portfolio represents 80% of all the home loans Mizrahi Tefahot, Israel’s biggest mortgage bank, made in 2014. It will hold the other 20% and continue to manage the loans for Migdal, the two sides said.

The sale is Mizrahi Tefahot’s second mortgage portfolio sale this year. It sold 770 million shekels worth of loans to Menorah Insurance as the bank acts to reduce its exposure to home lending. Mizrahi Tefahot shares ended down 1.5% at 44.60 and Migdal down 1% at 2.22. (Assa Sasson)

Buyer for Teva’s U.K. generic drug portfolio seen emerging in next several weeks

Teva's headquarters in Jerusalem.
Bloomberg

A buyer for Teva Pharmaceuticals’ portfolio of drugs in Britain, Ireland and Iceland, worth about $1.5 billion, could emerge in the next few weeks, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday. Among the prospective buyers is the Indian drug-maker Aurobindo Pharma, although the company has not made a final decision and declined to comment, Bloomberg said. The sale is one of a series of divestments the Israeli drug-maker is carrying out to win antitrust approval for its takeover of Allergan’s worldwide generics business. The sales have attracted interest from private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Cinven as well as drug-makers such as Mylan and Novartis.

 Teva has already agreed to sell a basket of generic drugs to Australia’s Mayne Pharma Group for $652 million, while Impax Laboratories and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories both announced deals to buy some other generic products. Teva shares declined 0.6% to 192.90 shekels ($49.62). (TheMarker Staff)

Tel Aviv shares fall on global growth worries

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Moti Milrod

Tel Aviv shares slid Wednesday as new concerns over global economic growth gripped European and U.S. markets.

In the fixed-income market, the government’s 10-year Sahar bond rose 0.29% to cut its yield to an all-time low of 1.57%, while the 10-year inflation-indexed Galil climbed 0.54% to a yield of 0.12%. In the share market, the TA-25 and TA-100 indexes each fell about 0.6% to close at 1,405.03 and 1,221.11 points, respectively, on thin turnover of about 804 million shekels ($206.8 million). Bank Leumi led bank shares lower, falling 2.1% to close at 13.26 shekels. It was the most active share of the session.

Other big losers were TowerJazz, which lost 2.4% to 46.48. Azrieli Group raised 2 billion shekels from institutional investors in an offering of 7.5-year bonds paying 1.34% linked to the consumer price index. Its share price finished 0.4% higher at 163.50. Energy shares bucked the trend, with Isramco up 0.9% to 67 agorot.  (Shelly Appelberg)