Pharma News Highlights: VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS) New CEO, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA)’s Rating, Amgen, Inc. (AMGN)’s Acquisition

Editor’s Note: VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS), Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX)

Vivus Names Fischer CEO as Zook Resigns for Health Reasons (Vivus CEO Zook steps down due to health concerns)
VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS), the obesity-drug maker that overturned its board and management in July after a proxy fight with its largest shareholder, said new Chief Executive Officer Tony Zook has resigned because of health reasons. Seth H. Z. Fischer, formerly with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), will replace Zook immediately, the Mountain View, California-based company said today in a statement. Vivus cited “recurring issues associated with a previously diagnosed medical condition” for Zook’s departure. Zook started as CEO on July 22 after shareholders First Manhattan Co. and Sarissa Capital Management LP ousted former chief Leland Wilson when they won control of the board.


Arena Pharmaceuticals Downgraded to “Neutral” at Zacks (ARNA) (Daily Political)
Zacks downgraded shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a report issued on Monday, American Banking News reports. They currently have $7.90 target price on the stock. Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Analysts at Piper Jaffray Cos. cut their price target on shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals to $11.50 in a research note to investors on Thursday, August 1st. They now have an overweight rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Leerink Swann reiterated a positive rating on shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) in a research note to investors on Wednesday, June 19th.

Amgen snaps up Onyx in huge biotech deal (Chemistry World)
Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) is to acquire San Francisco-based oncology specialist Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX). The $10.4 billion (£6.7 billion) deal gives Amgen access to the recently approved multiple myeloma drug carfilzomib (Kyprolis), plus several other partnered anticancer agents that are already on the market. It also gains Onyx’s in-house development pipeline, where the highlight is oprozomib, an orally active proteasome inhibitor currently in Phase Ib/II trials for blood cancers. Amgen chairman and chief executive Robert Bradway believes his company is ‘ideally suited’ to realise the full potential of Onyx’s portfolio. ‘Our acquisition of Onyx follows a thorough due diligence process,’ he said. ‘We expect this acquisition will accelerate growth and enhance value for Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) shareholders.’

VIVUS Stock Rating Lowered by JMP Securities (VVUS) (Mideast Time)
JMP Securities cut shares of VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) from an outperform rating to a market perform rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, reports. Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Credit Suisse cut their price target on shares of VIVUS from $15.00 to $14.00 in a research note to investors on Wednesday, August 7th. They now have a neutral rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Jefferies Group cut their EPS estimates on shares of VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) in a research note on Wednesday. They now have an underperform rating and a $5.00 price target on the stock.

AEG and Amgen close to solidifying Tour of California partnership (Breakingviews)
Cyclingnews understands that the Tour of California organisers, AEG, and Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) are close to finalising the sponsorship of next year’s race. Amgen has been the title sponsor since the race’s inception in 2006. However, the current deal expires in 2013. The race organisers typically announce their route in the fall period before the following year’s race, and a source close to AEG has told Cyclingnews that plans are close to being formalised for both the sponsorship and the route, securing the race’s future.