Biogen, Bio-Thera Presents Positive Phase 3 Data For Tocilizumab Biosimilar In Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gold Slips Ahead Of US Jobs Data

Gold prices slipped in lackluster trade on Friday as investors react to hawkish comments from Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard.

Spot gold slipped 0.2 percent to $1,864.86 per ounce while U.S. gold futures were down 0.2 percent at $1,867.80.

Brainard told CNBC it’s “very hard to see the case for a pause” in rate hikes and the central bank still has “a lot of work to do to get inflation down to the 2 percent target.”

A report on U.S. service sector activity along with the closely-watched monthly jobs data, which includes both public and private sector jobs, will be in the spotlight later in the day.

Economists expect U.S. employment to jump by 325,000 jobs in May after an increase of 428,000 jobs in April. The unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent.

It is believed that weaker-than-expected data could sway the Fed towards a less aggressive policy path.

Investors also await the announcement of the interest rate decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) next week.

Oil Prices Slide After OPEC+ Hike

Oil prices fell on Friday after Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ states agreed to bring forward oil production rises to offset Russian output losses because of Western sanctions.

The downside, however, remained capped by signs of tight global supply and expectations of increased demand as China eases its COVID restrictions.

Benchmark Brent crude futures dropped 0.7 percent to $116.75 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 0.8 percent at $115.92.

The oil exporters’ cartel said it would increase supply by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August, 200,000 barrels per day more than scheduled under a supply agreement with other producers, including Russia, known as OPEC+.

The planned production increase comes at a time when the demand outlook is clouded by many uncertainties.

Recession warnings are coming thick and fast, with Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, describing the challenges facing the U.S. economy as akin to a “hurricane” down the road.

In focus later today will be U.S. employment data for May. It is believed that weak data could sway the Fed towards a less aggressive policy path.

Leonard Novelty Bakery Recalls Carrot Cake Squares

Leonard Novelty Bakery is calling back certain Carrot Cake Squares sold in its Bakery departments due to undeclared walnuts, an allergen, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

The recalled products come with UPC code 0-96162-12483-8, and lot codes including SL21R 10222 12483, SL21R 10322 12483 and SL21R 10822 12483. The products were sold from early May until May 17.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to walnuts may get serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

However, the company has not received any reports of illnesses or adverse reactions related to the recalled product to date.

Customers who have purchased the product are urged to return it to the store for a full refund.

In recent recalls, Richmond, Utah-based Casper’s Ice Cream in late May called back its 56 ounce tubs of “Red Button Vintage Creamery Canadian Vanilla Ice Cream” due to undeclared almonds.

Blue Moose of Boulder LLC recalled one lot of 7 oz units of its “Spinach Artichoke Parmesan Dip” for potentially containing undeclared tree nut (Cashew) and soy allergens.

U.S. Factory Orders Rise Much Less Than Expected In April

After reporting a sharp increase in new orders for U.S. manufactured goods in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing factory orders rose by much less than expected in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said factory orders edged up by 0.3 percent in April after jumping by a downwardly revised 1.8 percent in March.

Economists had expected factory orders to advance by 0.7 percent compared to the 2.2 percent surge originally reported for the previous month.

The report showed durable goods orders rose by 0.5 percent compared to the previously reported 0.4 percent increase, while orders for non-durable goods crept up by 0.2 percent.

The Commerce Department also said shipments of manufactured goods inched up by 0.2 percent in April after spiking by 2.2 percent in March.

Inventories of manufactured goods also increased by 0.6 percent in April following a 1.4 percent jump in the previous month.

With inventories rising by more than shipments, the inventories-to-shipments ratio ticked up to 1.48 in April from 1.47 in March.

Biogen, Bio-Thera Presents Positive Phase 3 Data For Tocilizumab Biosimilar In Rheumatoid Arthritis

At the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology on Friday, biotechnology companies Biogen Inc. (BIIB) and Bio-Thera Solutions, Ltd. presented positive Phase 3 data for BIIB800 (BAT1806), a biosimilar candidate referencing ACTEMRA/ROACTEMRA (tocilizumab), anti-interleukin-6 receptor monoclonal antibody.

Data from the Phase 3 comparative clinical trial demonstrated that the investigational biosimilar candidate BIIB800 has equivalent efficacy and comparable safety and immunogenicity profile to the reference tocilizumab product.

The double-blind 52-week Phase 3 study randomized 621 patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis to receive either BIIB800 or the reference tocilizumab administered intravenously every 4 weeks at a dose of 8 mg/kg for the first 24 weeks.

The primary endpoints were ACR20 response at week 12 and week 24. The ACR20 response rates in the BIIB800 group and the reference tocilizumab group were 68.97% vs. 64.82% at week 12 and 69.89% vs. 67.94% at week 24.

The estimated differences between the two groups were within the pre-defined equivalence margins at week 12 and 1.94% at week 24.