Dr.Shruti Bhat, an Expert in Pharmaceutical industry, brings to you some highlights from current pharma business news-
Abbott Labs Completes Purchase Of Starlims.
"Abbott Laboratories said Monday it completed its purchase of Starlims Technology" for $123 million, or $14 per share. Abbott said that Starlims will "increase its position in the diagnostic testing market.
WHO: Drug-Resistant TB Killed 150,000 In 2008.
The New York Times reported that the WHO announced data last week showing that "drug-resistant tuberculosis killed about 150,000 people in 2008, and half of all the world's cases are thought in be in China and India." The report found that "progress has been made in parts of Siberia, but in another region of Russia, more than a quarter of all cases are drug-resistant. And in Africa, a vast majority of cases have probably not even been diagnosed, the report said."
Transgene Sells Novartis Option On Rights To Experimental Cancer Vaccine.
Bloomberg News reported that French biotechnology company Transgene SA "sold Novartis AG an option on rights to the experimental TG4010 cancer vaccine in a deal that may fetch as much as $960 million." Under the terms of the agreement, "Novartis will pay an initial $10 million for a worldwide license...Transgene said." The vaccine received FDA "fast-track status" in December. For its part, "Transgene will fund the next phase of the product's development and retain control of it until early 2012, when the first results of the trial emerge." At that point, "Novartis will...have 90 days to exercise its option, Transgene said."
Pharmaceutical Industry Prepares For New Business Under Health Reform Law.
The US drug industry fended off price curbs and other hefty restrictions in President Obama's healthcare law even as it prepares for plenty of new business when an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage. Noted provisions that may help the industry include: "brand-name biotech drugs won 12 years of protection against cheaper generic competitors," Medicare beneficiaries' drug "price cuts plus gradually rising federal subsidies will mean more elderly people will purchase more drugs," and lobbyists "beat back proposals to allow importation of low-cost medicines and to have Medicare negotiate drug prices with companies."
FDA clears Vytorin and Zetia of suspected link to cancer.
The Los Angeles Times blog reported "Booster Shots" that after examining two previous studies, a Food and Drug Administration review committee has determined that it is "unlikely" the cholesterol-lowering drugs Vytorin and Zetia "increase the risk of cancer or cancer-related deaths." The agency said the trials were expected to be finished in 2010 and 2012, and advised physicians "to use their best judgment in evaluating potential risks and benefits of the drugs" until they are completed.
Roche Seeks Acquisitions To Boost Its Research Programs.
Roche Holding AG Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan said he seeks acquisitions that will bolster the company's research programs, rather than 'mega-mergers' designed to add immediate revenue." In addition, the company "is interested in partnerships or acquisitions that would strengthen" its position as the "world's biggest maker of cancer medicines," and "expand its work on Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, Schwan said in an interview."
He added that Roche's drugs to treat melanoma and "good" HDL cholesterol could change the treatment of cancer and heart disease.
Roche To Introduce At Least Six New Drugs By 2015.
In a separate story, Roche also expects to introduce "at least six new medicines by 2015." Roche "wants to expand" the use of its cancer drugs "by testing them in different tumors and earlier in the disease." The company "also is seeking to expand beyond cancer and tap markets for conditions such as diabetes and diseases of the central nervous system."
Pharmaceutical Thefts Becoming More Common.
The $75 million heist at" Eli Lilly's "warehouse in Connecticut was just the most audacious example of a growing phenomenon: Thieves are stealing large quantities of prescription drugs for resale on the black market." The increase is blamed on "spotty security and high drug prices," while Freight Watch spokesman Ron Greene also blamed thefts on "a fragmented supply chain." FDA spokesman Tom Gasparoli said, "Some of these thieves completely redo labels, and they pass muster if no one's looking too closely." In response, "drug makers are taking steps" and "the FDA has stepped up its own efforts, issuing alerts to the public, working with manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies and law enforcement, and publishing lot numbers of stolen drugs on a website."
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