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Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Pozen, Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca and ADC Telecommunications Inc.

CHICAGO -- announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Pozen (Nasdaq: POZN), Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY), Bristol-Myers (NYSE: BMY), AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) and ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Pozen Initiates New Phase III

This morning, Pozen (Nasdaq: POZN) initiated phase III studies on PA-325/40, a fixed-dose combination of 325mg enteric coated aspirin and 40mg of immediate release omeprazole. The phase III program will consist of two pivotal trials conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreed upon with the U.S. FDA, and one long-term safety study.

The two pivotal programs will enroll approximately 500 patients per study at over 100 sites around the U.S. The primary endpoint of the pivotal studies is the cumulative incidence of gastric ulcers over the six-month treatment period for PA32540 versus 325 mg of enteric-coated aspirin. The long-term study will enroll approximately 400 patients and assess safety over a period of one year.

Pozen is developing PA-325/40 for use in the secondary prevention of heart attacks and strokes in patients at risk for associated gastric ulcers. Aspirin is the No. 1 recommended agent for at-risk patients, with some 50 million Americans take daily aspirin therapy for secondary prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

However, according to data presented at the American College of Gastroenterology and at the American Heart Association meeting, the use of low-dose aspirin for cardiovascular disease prophylaxis is associated with a 2- to 4-fold increase in gastro-intestinal (GI) complications, including gastric ulcers. Enteric coating is not a sufficient to reduce the risk of GI bleeding, and thus the majority of patients that should be taking 325mg aspirin are non-compliant or taking suboptimal low-dose (81mg) "baby" aspirin instead.

Pozen's PA-325/40 is designed to provide immediate-release omeprazole as a GI-protectant for patients taking full-dose 325mg daily aspirin therapy. If the phase III trials meet the primary endpoint of reduction in cumulative incidence of gastric ulcers, we expect PA-325/40 to be approved by the U.S. FDA with the full cardiovascular label claims of regular enteric-coated aspirin. This is a significant market opportunity in our view, considering less than 15% of the 50 million Americans on daily aspirin therapy are taking a GI-protectant such as omeprazole.

Recently, data from a retrospective analysis of patients that use Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY) / Bristol-Myers' (NYSE: BMY) Plavix (clopidogrel) showed an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) by as much as 50% while taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) such as AstraZeneca's (NYSE: AZN) omeprazole (Prilosec) or esomeprazole (Nexium). The data included analysis of outcomes from 16,700 patients who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention and continued Plavix for 12 months after the procedure.

ADC Dips on Weak Outlook

Yesterday, after market close, ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT) declared financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. Earlier, the Board of Directors of ADC had taken a decision to change its fiscal year from Oct 31 to Sep 30. As a result, fiscal year 2009 ended on Sep 30, 2009, which means the company got only two months as its fourth quarter. The fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 would, therefore, not be comparable to either the prior-year quarter or the previous quarter. For this reason, management has presented pro forma results for the three month period ending Sep 30 and its comparable quarter.

Actual revenue of fourth quarter 2009 was $183.9 million, below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $189 million. Quarterly pro forma revenue was $293.6 million, down 17.5% year-over-year. This significant decline in revenue is the result of the global economic recession across all the three business segments.

On a GAAP basis, net loss in the quarter was $19.8 million or a loss of 20 cents per share compared to a net loss of $5.6 million or a loss of 5 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. However, adjusted net income (excluding $25.5 million special charges and $0.6 million loss from discontinued operations, net of taxes) in the reported quarter was $6.3 million or an income of 6 cents per share, higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of an income of 4 cents per share.

Pro forma gross margin for the quarter was 34.6% compared to 33% in the year-ago quarter. This reflects the aggressive cost cutting measures taken by management during the past one year. Pro forma quarterly operating expenses were $113 million compared to $106.2 million in the prior-year quarter.

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Comment:Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Pozen, Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca and ADC Telecommunications Inc.
Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Nov 23, 2009
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