Merck KgaA: FDA Granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation For Tepotinib

China unveils products to be exempt from tariffs: report

China plans to exempt 16 products from the first round of extra tariffs on U.S. imports, Chinese media reported Wednesday. That exemption will take effect September 17, the South China Morning Post reported, citing the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council. Those lists of exempted goods include seafood products and drugs to fight cancer, according to separate media reports. U.S. and Beijing negotiators are due to meet in Washington in October for a fresh round of trade talks. Meanwhile, Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-owned Global Times tweeted that "China will introduce important measures to ease the negative impact of the trade war. The measures will benefit some companies from both China and the U.S."

Ukraine parliament passes bill to criminalize illegal enrichment at first reading

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s parliament on Wednesday approved a bill that criminalizes state officials illegally enriching themselves.

The bill must be voted on again in order to take effect. Parliament needs to pass the law as a likely condition of more aid from the International Monetary Fund.

Ukraine passed a law criminalizing illicit enrichment in 2015 but the constitutional court overturned the law in February, sparking concern among anti-corruption campaigners, the anti-corruption bureau and Ukraine’s overseas backers.

Security tight as election materials land in Afghanistan

Materials arrive before presidential elections and under guard due to past Taliban threats.

    Election material has arrived in Afghanistan for the presidential vote which is just over two weeks away.

    With the US-Taliban talks over, for now, the Afghan government has scheduled presidential elections on September 28.

    But escorting the material safely is a priority for security forces who want to shield it from the Taliban, who is against the Afghan people participating.

    Al Jazeera’s Charlotte Bellis reports from Kabul.

    Person shot dead at Aldergrove McDonald’s

    One person is dead after a shooting in Aldergrove Tuesday night.

    Police converged outside a McDonald’s restaurant at 56th Avenue and 264th Street at around 8 p.m.

    Langley RCMP say arriving officers found a body of a person shot dead, sprawled outside the restaurant’s entrance. Nearby windows were shattered.

    Langley RCMP confirm the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has been called in.

    Later the same evening, a torched S-U-V was found in southwest Abbotsford.

    No word if the two incidents are connected.

    Zara-owner Inditex posts higher net profit, sees single-digit sales growth ahead

    Spain’s Inditex said Wednesday that net profit in the first half grew, and that the company expects like-for-like sales to rise by a mid-single digit in its full-year 2019.

    The company ITX, -2.55% , which owns the Zara chain of stores, said net profit for the period was 1.55 billion euros ($1.71 billion), compared with €1.41 billion a year earlier.

    Sales rose 7% to €12.82 billion, helped by growth in all brands and regions, the company said. On a like-for-like (LFL) basis, sales grew 5%.

    Gross margin for the first half was 56.8%, compared with 56.7% the year previous.

    The company said store and online sales rose 8% between Aug. 1 and Sept. 8 in local currencies. and estimates that LFL sales will grow by 4% to 6% in its full-year 2019.

    Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament is 'illegal', court rules

    The Scottish Civil Court has ruled that Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament was unlawful.

    This is a breaking story we will be updating.

    Soco International H1 Profit, Revenue Down On Weak Prices; Production Up

    Soco International Plc. (SIA.L), an oil and gas exploration and production company, reported Wednesday that its first-half operating profit fell to $20.7 million from $27.8 million last year. Gross profit declined to $32.4 million from prior year’s $38.3 million.

    Group revenue was $91.8 million, down from last year’s $93.2 million.

    Total Group working interest production, however, grew to 12,541 boepd from 7,748 boepd last year.

    Oil Price Realised dropped to $69.04 per barrel from $74.08 per barrel last year. Oil & Gas Price Realised declined to $61.96 per boe from $66.06 per boe a year ago.

    Looking ahead, the company noted that in Egypt, production guidance for the El Fayum concession continues to be a 2019 exit rate of 6,500 bopd. In Vietnam, production guidance for 2019 remains unchanged at an average of 6,500-7,500 boepd for the full year

    Further, SOCO said it will be hosting a Capital Markets Day on October 29.

    SOCO is proposing to change its registered name to Pharos Energy plc. The change of name, in order to take effect, requires SOCO shareholders to pass a special resolution at a general meeting of the Company.

    Merck KgaA: FDA Granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation For Tepotinib

    German science and technology company Merck KGaA (MKGAY.PK) announced Wednesday that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the investigational targeted therapy tepotinib.

    The therapy is for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer or NSCLC harboring MET exon 14 skipping alterations who progressed following platinum-based cancer therapy.

    Discovered in-house at Merck KGaA, tepotinib is an investigational oral MET kinase inhibitor.

    The Breakthrough Therapy Designation is based on data from the ongoing VISION study (NCT02864992), showing preliminary clinical evidence that tepotinib may offer an improvement over available therapy.

    Luciano Rossetti, Global Head of Research & Development for the Biopharma business of Merck KGaA, said, “Tepotinib was associated with robust objective responses with durability that has not previously been seen in patients with metastatic NSCLC harboring MET exon 14 skipping alterations, selected by either tissue or liquid biopsy approaches.”

    In March 2018, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare granted SAKIGAKE ‘fast-track’ designation for tepotinib in advanced NSCLC harboring MET exon 14 skipping alterations.