2014

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Bayer, Biogen Idec, Conceptus, Microsoft and J. C. Penney

CHICAGO, May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com 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 Bayer (OTC:BAYRY), Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB), Conceptus Inc. (Nasdaq: CPTS), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and J. C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP).

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Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Bayer Discontinues Hemophilia Study

Bayer's (OTC:BAYRY) HealthCare segment recently decided to discontinue the phase II/III TRUST (TReatment with Unique recombinant rFVIIa STudy) study on BAY 86-6150. The study was evaluating the efficacy and safety of the candidate in patients suffering from hemophilia A or hemophilia B with inhibitors.

Bayer stated that a neutralizing antibody was detected during the course of the study. Since patient safety was the primary objective of the study, the company discontinued the BAY 86-6150 trial as a precautionary measure.

Bayer already has Kogenate in its product portfolio for the treatment of haemophilia. The drug generated around €1.2 billion in revenues during 2012. Bayer also has BAY 94-9027 (rFVIII mutein) in its pipeline targeting hemophilia A. The candidate is currently in phase III development.

We note that companies like Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) are also developing therapies targeting the  hemophilia market.

Bayer was recently in the news when it inked a deal to buy Conceptus Inc. (Nasdaq: CPTS) for $31.00 per share or approximately $1.1 billion in cash. Bayer intends to launch a public tender soon to acquire all shares of Conceptus. The transaction is expected to close by mid-2013.

Bayer's impending acquisition of Conceptus will add the Essure permanent (non-surgical) birth control system to its product portfolio. We note that Conceptus' Essure procedure was approved in 2002 in the US and is well accepted in the market.

Bayer, a large cap pharma company, presently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

European Schools Adopt Office 365

The world's largest software maker Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is gradually becoming popular in educational institutions across Europe. Its Office 365 suite has won several customers such as School Center Skofja Loka (Slovenia), TEI Kalamata (Greece), EDUCATIVA (Romania), Kozminski University (Poland), Faculty of Economics and Business (Slovenia), University of Maribor and Vaikystes Sodas (Lithuania).

The suite won on different counts at these institutions. While School Center Skofja Loka wants to increase its visibility in the education sector, employees at EDUCATIVA want to efficiently respond to thousands of emails about its products and services. TEI Kalamata is deploying Office 365 to efficiently manage funds and resources to research. Kozminski University wants to keep in touch with their students even when they graduate from the University. University of Maribor wants to install Office 365 to increase communication and collaboration with its strong base of 4,000 students and professors.

The Office 365 suite equips these organizations with advanced technologies, thereby improving operational efficiency and resource allocation. Not only does it facilitate communication and collaboration among the organizations, but also reduces their IT expenses.

Office 365 is sold as a service and therefore, generates ongoing revenues for Microsoft instead of a one-time licensing fee. Launched in Dec, 2011, the new Office comes with the traditional word processing, spreadsheets and email programs.

 Microsoft's Office 365 is gaining traction in the market as it recently launched its online version focusing on touch devices. Further, it is being deployed at the stores of retailers such as J. C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) and U.K.-based Tesco as well as government departments such as the Texas Department of Information Resources, which chose the software for inter-departmental activities. The latest to jump on the bandwagon is the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which also signed a MoU with Microsoft. Further, Microsoft's software is gaining ground in the healthcare sector. The company continues to innovate, launching separate versions for businesses and student communities. 

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