Tel Aviv Shares Ignore Greek Crisis

The Ticker: Clal Biotech reaches compromise with Hyperion over Andromeda; Teva in pact extending Treanda patent life.

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Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, doesn't wear a tie.
Greece's new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, doesn't wear a tie.Credit: Reuters

Clal Biotech reaches compromise with Hyperion over Andromeda

Clal Biotechnology yesterday reached a compromise agreement with the U.S. company Hyperion. ending an embarrassing dispute that led the American company to rescind its $550 million agreement to buy Andromeda unit five months ago. Under the accord, the two companies agreed to drop any claims against each other and to complete Phase III clinical trials of Andromeda’s DiaPep277 type 1 diabetes drug. Hyperion stopped the drug’s development last September after alleging that Andromeda’s employees had manipulated trials to obtain favorable results. Hyperion will cover up to $12.5 million of the trial costs and Clal anything above that. A committee comprising representatives of the two companies plus a third from the Weizmann Institute of Technology, which developed the core technology, will oversee the trials. In addition, Clal bought a $2.5 million option to buy back control of Andromeda. Shares of Clal Biotechnology surged 9% to end at 3.68 shekels (95 cents). (Yoram Gabison)

Teva in pact extending Treanda patent life

Teva Pharmaceuticals has found a solution to the impending patent expiry of its Treanda leukemia drug, its top seller after the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone. Yesterday the company said it reached an agreement with Eagle Pharmaceuticals giving it exclusive U.S. rights to sell the New Jersey company’s EP-3102 drug for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia and indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. EP-3102 is a version of Treanda, which earned Teva $767 million in sales last year but is due to lose its patent protection as early as next September. The two companies had been fighting in court over when the patent was due to expire, but they agreed as part of yesterday’s deal to end the dispute. Eagle will receive an upfront cash payment of $30 million, up to $90 million in milestone payments and double-digit royalties on net sales of the product, which has yet to win U.S. regulatory approval. Teva shares rose 0./6% to 221.40 shekels ($57.28). (Yoram Gabison)

VBL halts work on anti-inflammatory drug

Israel’s VBL Therapeutics said yesterday it would stop developing its experimental inflammatory drug to fight ulcerative colitis and psoriasis, sending its shares tumbling. The company said its VB-201 drug failed in mid-stage trials to meet its main goal of treating chronic immune-inflammatory diseases by mimicking the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response. Separately, the biotechnology company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted a partial hold on another drug that is being tested to treat an aggressive form of brain cancer. The biotech drug, VB-111, will be evaluated in a late-stage study in patients with recurrent glioblastoma. The hold was imposed by the agency in July, pending additional data. Shares of VBL, which were listed on the Nasdaq in October, were down almost 59% at noon local time at $5.91. (Reuters)

Tel Aviv shares ignore Greek crisis

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index moved higher at midday yesterday, ignoring gloom in Europe over deadlocked Greek debt talks. The benchmark index ended up 0.1% at 1,474.95 points, while the TA-100 added 0.1% to 1,302.17, on turnover of 1.27 billion shekels ($330 million). “Investors have learned that the combination of very low inflation and the strong shekel won’t enable any interest rate rise in 2015, despite the surprisingly strong economic growth figures published [Monday],” said Yotav Costica, chief economist at Mor Investment House. Bank shares were mostly higher, paced by a 1.7% gain for Bank Hapoalim to end at 17.80 shekels and 1.4% advance for Bank Leumi to 13.49. Telecommunications shares were down, with Partner Communications finishing 2.2% lower at 15.03 and Internet Zahav falling 2.9% to 17.82. The dollar weakened more than 0.6% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.865. (Dror Reich)