Merck, U.S., Pasir Biosciences discussed on Bloomberg Markets

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If you could have any plane you wanted and I know that you've thought about this Greg If I said money is no object I will give you one aircraft for keeps What would you choose A palatis Porter turbo It's a single engine high wing plane that can land on short runways and take off on short runways They used to allow us during the Vietnam War and it's still in active service as I guess you call it a bush plane a really high powered bush plane Very cool I'm gonna check that out It's not what I was expecting as a response I wasn't either I thought P-51 Mustang something but that's pretty sweet All right let's get with that to something completely different The world of small cap stocks we bring in our cross asset reporter pretty Gupta Pretty Well Matt a little bit of green on the screen here when it comes to the Russell 2000 outperforming all of the other U.S. equity benchmarks but look under the hood And a lot of the good news is coming from several BioTech companies Let's start off with protagonist Therapeutics Take your PT GX Shares had doubled after U.S. regulators allowed studies of its blood cancer drug rust for tide I don't know if I'm saying that right Just bear with me there to resume Shares are now up 82% So a little bit of a fade but still 82% nothing to scoff at And then of course we have a flexion Therapeutics You have pasir biosciences agreeing to buy the company in a $630 million deal that boosts the company's portfolio of non opioid pain relief therapy shares are up about 60% ticker FLX And so those of course are the major contributors to the rustle on the positive side On the negative side highly on holdings down after UBS cut its recommendation to sell from neutral on expectations of a slower and more costly ramp up for the electric power provider including a quote careful customer adoption rate and supply chain and labor challenges you have those shares down 12% to your HY LN And lastly I HRT that is of course iHeartMedia shares down about 4% after Liberty Media sold its entire stake in a block trade of 5.94 million class a shares I heart formerly known as clear channel communications at one point the number one performing stock for the decade of the 90s was my top pick for many many years But then radio fell on hard times as did the billboard business but interesting company nonetheless Is it making a comeback though Always listen to radio so to this day obviously listen to a ton of radio just in my free personal free time Don't other people drive around in the car It does Radio has great listenership Yes it's down from the peak It has great listenership but it just can't attract the advertising dollars digital took them all So that's my having took basically the whole radio industry public in the 90s I can say that with some authority So unfortunately the business model is pretty challenged but still a lot of cash flow can support some debt and there you go Pretty good Thanks so much for joining us We appreciate that cross asset reporter All right we had some good news out of Merck late last week They've got an emergency use authorization for pill for COVID That could reduce hospitalization risk by about 50% And a lot of folks are saying this is a game changer in terms of dealing with the virus Rodney Griffin U.S. healthcare reporter for Bloomberg news joins us on the phone So Raleigh how big is this news out of Merck Now they've had a couple days to digest it This is a big deal If you ask Anthony Fauci or Francis Collins at the NIH what they've been seeking out of the treatment landscape over the last year and a half as we've been amid this pandemic the answer is clear It's a pill A pill that's easy to deploy quick to make and cheap right And that's what Merck is aiming to deliver here with its partner bio Therapeutics We've just learned this morning that the companies have sought emergency use authorization in the U.S. for a moment which would move the pill closer to becoming the very first oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 The hope I hear from an executive just last week is that this could come through before Halloween All right so what does this mean for you know for example the death curve I hate to say that It sounds horrible But is it going to drastically improve our chances human chances of surviving COVID-19 Yes So what we've seen is that it cuts the risk of hospitalization for patients by half And these are patients that are at risk of developing a severe illness that might require hospitalization ultimately Where do you see this in the course of treatment Well the real hope with Merck's monopoly is that you get it right away after a confirmed COVID diagnosis So this isn't a treatment for those who are sickest already in the hospital It's for those who are at risk of getting pretty sick And they take it very early on in their course of treatment What does that mean for the death curve Obviously we have seen that many people still aren't vaccinated in this country And that means that treatments are still desperately needed to reduce that risk It's a highly anticipated drug here in the U.S. but also a broad where vaccines aren't as equitably accessible as they have been here in the U.S. What's the timing there Riley in terms of when I think Merck in a pill I'm thinking they can crank out billions of these and get them anywhere in the world and very quickly What does Merck say about their sense of timing and getting these pills fully distributed like you said to some of the areas that may not have access to the vaccine quite yet Great question Well here in the U.S. we know that Merck is going to be able to make 10 million treatment courses or 400 million capsules before the end of 2021 They've been manufacturing this pill at risk over the course of the year and that's how much we anticipate to have through the end of the year So substantially more will be produced in 2022 but to get that at that question for low and middle income countries What Merck is doing is suggesting that they're going to make voluntary licenses available to third party generic drug manufacturers They're already 8 that are doing this in India What that means is they're letting other companies manufacture with their own IP this product So that is a big step in the right direction in terms of access market known for those public health commitments throughout history It's something that they're aiming to do in the near term and I anticipate that the company will clinch more of those deals before the end of.

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