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Posts Tagged ‘Rituxan’

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Abbott making a big India buy – The speculation that has been fuelling the shares of Piramal Healthcare over the past few days has been put to rest after Abbott Laboratories announced Friday that it will buy a unit of the Indian pharmaceutical companymore

Lots of Oncology. Rituxan: cutting lymphoma recurrence – The final phase of a drug study finds that two years of treatment with rituximab (Rituxan) cuts in half the risk that follicular lymphoma patients who respond to chemotherapy will suffer a recurrence of the diseasemore And, some good news on sarcoma: An experimental drug from Ziopharm Oncology Inc. helped keep fast-growing sarcomas, lethal tumors that can grow to the size of basketballs, in check 77% longer than a standard treatment, a company-sponsored study foundmore Plus, Amgen experimental drugs slow down some tumors.

Some side effects of popular cholesterol-lowering drugs? – Drugs to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, taken by millions of people worldwide, increase the risk of cataracts, kidney failure, muscle pain and liver dysfunction, a study of more than 2 million Britons foundmore

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The Doctor Won’t See You Now training.

JUST FOR FUN

It’s spring, and the weather’s fine. So, go on one of America’s Scenic Drives.

AND, a pharma spoof – So, What’s your Problem with Gram-Negative Bacteria?

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TODAY’S NEWS

Big news on the leukemia front: NovartisTasigna gets priority FDA review for newly-diagnosed patients; and Roche/Genentech‘s Rituxan approved for CLL.

A quarter of new prescriptions go unfilled.

Statins: cardiovascular benefits far outweigh the diabetes risks – Statin drugs raise the risk of diabetes significantly, but the danger appeared puny compared with their cardiovascular benefits, researchers found in a meta-analysismore

Gilead looking to ride a Quad to victory in HIV – Gilead Sciences has gone some way to ensuring that its dominance of the HIV market continues after phase II data from its “Quad” pill presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections showed non-inferiority to its second best-selling drug, Atriplamore

Pharma eMarketing round-up: some great links and a big, thought-provoking question.

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Even Me-Too Drugs get the blues

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I don’t recommend you try this at home! But what happens when an iMac meets a house fire? The result is…surprising, to say the least!

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General news:

Approvals: Genzyme’s stem cell transplant drug Mozobil; Abbott‘s triglyceride drug TriLipix; Eisai‘s Lusedra for anesthesia.

Novartis‘ experimental MS drug (oral) looking really good compared to competition.

Wyeth and ghostwritten articles. This is going to be ugly – Wyeth paid a company to ghostwrite medical journal articles about its hormone therapy products and seek academic scientists to sign them as authors, a U.S. senator said. Documents from lawsuits suggest the drugmaker hired DesignWrite Inc. of Princeton, New Jersey, to draft manuscripts related to the Wyeth products and breast cancer risks, according to letters released today from Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa to the companies. Wyeth makes the hormone replacement drugs Prempro and Premarin…more

Roche CEO to other pharma/biotech companies: Let’s get gloomy.

More trouble for Elan/Biogen’s Tysabri – Yet again, the multiple-sclerosis medication has caused a serious brain infection, the same malady that prompted the drug to be withdrawn in 2005 for about a year. A German MS patient contracted PML, or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopthy, and remains hospitalized…more When you look at the numbers, however, it’s still a pretty small incidence. My question – if it weren’t an exotic brain infection, would this get so much press attention??

Would you like some Ritalin with that syllabus? – “We should welcome new methods of improving our brain function,” they write. “In a world in which human workspans and lifespans are increasing, cognitive enhancement tools – including the pharmacological – will be increasingly useful for improved quality of life and extended work productivity, as well as to stave off normal and pathological age-related cognitive declines. Safe and effective cognitive enhancers will benefit both the individual and society.” more

Newer antipsychotics: much ado about nothing? – The common distinction between first- and second-generation antipsychotics has no scientific basis and should be dropped, according to a paper in The Lancet. A meta-analysis of 150 double-blind studies found little evidence that newer, so-called atypical antipsychotics are more effective than older drugs for symptoms of schizophrenia, MedPage Today writes…more

Choose your friends wisely-and happily – Researchers looked at the social networks of more than 4,700 people whose happiness, along with other factors, had been tracked for 20 years. Those surrounded by cheery souls were more likely to have sunny dispositions, even if they didn’t known them…more

KV Pharma CEO: walked out or booted out? – This is one for the gossips. Marc Hermelin, the KV Pharmaceuticals ceo, is leaving under what could be politely called disputed circumstances. The drugmaker says he was fired, but Hermelin issued his own statement that he informed the board earlier this week that he is simply retiring, according to reports…more

J&J loses another Duragesic patch verdict, to the tune of $16.5M

Malaria vaccine one step closer – Two papers published in The New England Journal of Medicine are reporting the success of a pair of new vaccines tested in children in Africa. And experts say the results may open the door to sweeping trials of the vaccines in seven African nations by early 2009 and a completed formulation ready for approval by 2011. “We are,” Christian Loucq, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, tells Time, “one step closer to the day when malaria will join diseases like smallpox and polio.”  more

ImClone to cut field sales force by almost half, following acquisition by Eli Lilly.

Two blows to Avandia, one to Actos. Increased death risk: Avandia. Increased fracture risk among women: Both.

Using nicotine as a cure? Nope.

A summary of “where we’re at” with MS drugs, from PharmExec.com.

Fewer sales reps? Docs are OK with that. And here’s a 33-company list of where the jobs ain’t (recent layoffs). Ouch.

PhRMA’s beefed up drug advertising guidelines. As the pirate says, “these are more like guidelines…”

AstraZeneca‘s Symbicort cleared by FDA panel for asthma.

Top 50 Health 2.0 blogs.

Last week was ASH (American Society of Hematology) week, so we’ll feature a number of news items about blood diseases and treatments…

Encouraging blood platelet boost seen with Glaxo’s oral drug Promacta – Patients treated with GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s Promacta rather than a placebo were eight times more likely to have sustained increases in platelet counts, according to pivotal trial results announced by the company on Saturday…more

Zevalin – effective. You’ll have to flounder through all the technical terms to grasp the details!

Encouraging CLL treatment results with Celgene’s Revlimid in older patients.

Treanda may get to first-line treatment – Cephalon Inc’s Treanda was as effective in treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as the standard chemotherapy regimen with far less toxicity, according to interim analysis of a late-stage study that could pave the way for the drug’s use as an initial treatment for the disease…more

Allos experimental drug for lymphoma shows strong results – Allos Therapeutics Inc said on Saturday a small, but potentially pivotal, trial of its experimental drug pralatrexate found it helped curb cancer in 27 percent of patients with an aggressive type of lymphoma…more

Efficacy of long-term treatment with Novartis’ Glivec/Gleevecawesome. And good stuff with Tasigna in CML patients also. Staying with Novartis, results reported for its oral iron-reducing drug Exjade.

Rituxan + chemo for leukemia: yep. – A combination of Genentech Inc’s cancer drug Rituxan and chemotherapy reduces by 41 percent the risk of death or cancer progression, compared with chemotherapy alone, for patients with a common form of leukemia, the company said on Saturday…more

The coming clot-busters.

On the breast cancer front:

Zometa: tumor shrinker – the osteoporosis drug zoledronic acid (Zometa) appears to shrink breast tumors in patients who undergo chemotherapy. The drug is already approved to treat breast cancer that has spread to the bone and, earlier this year, was reported to lower the risk of breast cancer recurrence in pre-menopausal women with early estrogen- or progesterone-positive tumors…more

Tykerb + Femara = survival benefit.

Hormone replacement pills: not good news – Taking the hormones for five years doubles the risk for breast cancer, according to a new analysis of the Women’s Health Initiative, a large federal study, revealing the most dramatic evidence yet of the dangers of the popular pills..more

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J&J announces leadership transition – Johnson & Johnson appointed Sheri McCoy, leader of its surgical care group, on Thursday worldwide chairman of its pharmaceuticals group, effective Jan. 1. McCoy will replace Christine Poon, whose departure from J&J was announced last month. Poon, who has also served as J&J’s board vice chairman, plans to step down in March…more

Teva and AZ in a tiff about Crestor patents.

FDA to Takeda on Alogliptin review: Sorry, understaffed! – Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, Japan’s biggest drugmaker, said on Friday that U.S. health authorities have not been able to complete a review of a key diabetes drug candidate on schedule due to lack of resources…more

AZ‘s PurplePill website continues to generate impressive traffic numbers.

1 in 4 teenage girls have received Gardasil – Whether this means Merck’s HPV vaccine is making great inroads is unclear, but Gardasil does appear to be on its way to becoming accepted, according to the first federal government study of vaccination rates for the controversial shot…more

Rituxan OK’d for cancer treatmentRheumatoid arthritis drug Rituxan helps to fight cancer, but now its makers can actually share that with the world…more

Watson gets approval for Rapaflo for BPH – Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leading specialty pharmaceutical company, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved RAPAFLO(TM) (silodosin), the company’s new alpha blocker for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of BPH…more

Neurontin: the gaffe that keeps on taking – Pfizer Inc  tried to suppress medical studies that did not support the use of its epilepsy drug Neurontin, internal Pfizer documents submitted in a U.S. lawsuit against the company showed…more

St. John’s Wort for depressiondoes he or doesn’t he?

Drug samples under attack!

Eli Lilly buying up ImClone.

Dendreon’s Provenge has some tantalizing data, but still must wait – Amid the stock sell-off, a bright spot appears and, of all things, it turns out to be Dendreon, the controversial and much-maligned little company that continues to press ahead with its Provenge prostate cancer vaccine…more

Another university looks at banning pharma gifts – A university medical school task force recommends prohibiting faculty, medical residents and students from receiving gifts from drug and device makers, according to an unreleased report obtained by The Minnesota Daily, the university’s newspaper. Docs would also be required to disclose all relationships with a drugmaker before writing a prescription and create a website to report conflicts…more

King and Alpharma start talking – Are you surprised? After the usual posturing and harsh language, the two drugmakers have agreed to a confidentiality agreement, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission…more

Who should get Avastin? Genetic tests may tellGenetic tests could in future show who will respond best to Genentech and Roche’s blockbuster cancer drug Avastin — a positive development for patients but not necessarily for sales…more

Spiriva: more not-so-great mixed results – Spiriva, marketed by Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim, offered no advantage over an inhaled placebo for moderate-to-very-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, researchers reported on Sunday…more On the other hand, Novartis has a promising new COPD candidate doing well in mid-stage trials.

Peter Rost whistleblower suit against Pfizer gains new traction.

Good results for Remicade in combo treatment – Crohn’s disease patients taking Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Remicade either alone or with azathioprine experienced steroid-free remission in significantly greater numbers than those taking azathioprine alone, according to results of a clinical trial…more

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King begins hostile takeover proceedings with Alpharma – Brain Markison, King’s ceo, is disappointed that Dean Mitchell, Alpharma’s ceo, hasn’t responded to his initial offer $1.4 billion offer, which amounted to $33 a share. So Markison raised the bid to $37, or $1.6 billion, and is going directly to shareholders…more

J&J’s Christine Poon to retire.

ImClone to BMS: maybe we’re already dating – The drugmaker calls the $60-a-share bid by Bristol-Myers Squibb ‘inadequate,’ and goes on to say in a statement this morning that famed corporate raider Carl Icahn, who chairs ImClone’s board, has had ’several conversations with the ceo of a large pharmaceutical company,’ which was not named…more And more BMS-to-ImClone here, and on the response here.

Meanwhile, BMS grounding its fleet – Bristol-Myers Squibb is preparing to shut down its aviation operation at Trenton-Mercer Airport, sell four aircraft and dismiss about 32 employees as the drugmaker and leading Mercer County employer seeks to cut costs, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans…more

Amgen violating patents?

Can Botox relieve migraines?

FDA reports rare brain infection/death with Rituxan – The agency says a woman died of the rare viral infection more than a year and a half after discontinuing the drug, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and is marketed in the US by Genentech and Biogen Idec…more

Sanofi fills top job with Viehbacher from Glaxo – Chris Viehbacher, GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s head of North American operations, is to take a top job with French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis, a person familiar with the situation said on Tuesday…more

Januvia, 2 years in: thumbs up – Merck & Co’s diabetes drug Januvia substantially improves blood sugar levels over two years of treatment when combined with the older drug metformin and is generally well tolerated, new data on Tuesday showed…more

Experimental diabetes drug (BMS/AZ) promising – Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca’s experimental diabetes drug Onglyza significantly improves blood sugar control when added to older medicines, researchers said on Monday…more

Fast track for cancer drug Afinitor – An experimental drug from Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG has been granted priority review in the United States as a treatment for advanced kidney cancer. Novartis said on Tuesday that RAD001 or everolimus, which it plans to sell under the brand name Afinitor, had been accepted for fast review given the medicine’s potential to help patients who fail to respond to standard therapy…more

Tysabri for cancer? – Biogen Idec and Elan Corp have launched the first clinical trial of their multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, the companies said on Friday…more

Celgene gets a fast track for lung cancer drugCelgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) today announced that Amrubicin has been granted Fast Track product designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of small cell lung cancer after first-line chemotherapy…more

Is Pfizer interested in Bayer?

Sample trouble: drives up costs? – Free drug samples provided by drugmakers to doctors could actually be costing uninsured patients more in the long run, according to a new retrospective study in the Southern Medical Journalmore

The Allergan-Medicis “death match” – Allergan and Medicis have been locked in a highly profitable death-match for several years, with both companies bringing out me-too versions of the others’ products, just like Coke and Pepsi…more

But will it be posted in the Post Office? The FDA 20The first list is a bare-bones compilation naming 20 medications and the potential issue for each. It provides no indication of how widespread or serious the problems might be, leading some consumer advocates to question its usefulness, and prompting industry worries that skittish patients might stop taking a useful medication if they see it listed…more

Zimmer growing some spine.

GSK and Valeant on epilepsy drug tie-up.

Pfizer and Medivation to work together on Alzheimer’s/Huntington’s treatment.

Genentech and Roche acting merged: facilities closing – The fallout from Roche’s looming acquisition of Genentech has started. Roche will close a research facility in Palo Alto, Calif., where a 1,000 people work, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Back in July Roche said it would pull the plug on the lab in Stanford Research Park, but the company hedged, saying the closure would happen if the bid for Genentech were successful. Genentech has demurred so far, but most people think it’s just a matter of time before the deal happens. And now, Roche told the Mercury News it’s closing the plant, no matter what…more

No vigil for Provigil at TakedaCephalon Inc. will end its co- promotion agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. in North America for the sleep-disorder drug Provigil, because net sales dropped to less than $850 million this year…more

UCB: Yep, we’re specialty now. Translation: downsizing – If you can’t buy a biopharmaceutical company, you might as well become one. UCB Pharma last week announced that it will trim 17 percent of its work force—about 2,000 employees—in order to reestablish the company as specialty drug firm….more

Every once in a while you want to visit here – Forbes’ New Drugs to Watch page.

This is way cool – A little-used cancer drug called bryostatin can repair brain tissue if it’s administered within 24 hours after a stroke, according to U.S. researchers. Current stroke treatments must be administered within three hours and aren’t able to repair damaged brain tissue, the scientists said…more

Shire and Vyvanse for ADHD – One of the recent unheralded successes of the drug world was Shire Pharmaceuticals‘ launch of Vyvanse, a new, long-acting treatment for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. The fact that so little attention has been paid to Vyvanse is a shame because the take-up of this drug has been impressive — it appears to be well on its way to supplanting Adderall XR as the king of the ADHD drugs…more

I kinda think this one’s a no-win for Genentech – Negative public opinion just keeps piling on to Genentech regarding its pricing policy on Lucentis and Avastin. This weekend saw a big Associated Press story describe how the company is refusing to ask the FDA to approve Avastin for use in treating “wet age-related macular degeneration,” an eye condition that leads to blindness. Genentech is doing this, most people believe, because Avastin would be a much cheaper treatment for wet AMD than Lucentis, another Genentech drug. It costs about $60 per dose to use Avastin on the disease, and $2,000 to use Lucentis…more

Speaking of no-win – releasing Vytorin data…more

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The Xa factor: not looking so promising for Pfizer and Bristol – Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer’s apixaban blood clot preventer raised rates of bleeding in a 6-month study but showed some encouraging signs of protecting at-risk heart patients, researchers said on Tuesday. Apixaban, which works through a new mechanism of action by blocking a protein called Factor Xa, suffered a setback last week when it failed its primary goal in a late-stage trial for preventing clots after orthopaedic surgery…more A little more promising for Daiichi Sankyo, however. 9/2

This potential advance on a drug to treat Hepatitis-C is quite interesting…especially if you really like medical-technical terms! 9/1

Sciele bought by Japanese pharma company: Shionogi & Co plans to buy U.S.-based Sciele Pharma Inc for $1.1 billion, the fourth big overseas deals in nine months by Japanese drug makers eager to expand overseas…more 9/1

Prasugrel (investigational anti-clotting drug) shows strong results in diabetic patients – Patients who were diabetic and diagnosed with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) were 40 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack if they were treated with prasugrel vs. clopidogrel…more 8/31

Crestor a no-go on heart failure – AstraZeneca Plc’s cholesterol drug Crestor has failed in a second clinical trial for heart failure, suggesting such statin medicines don’t improve survival in patients with the chronic condition…more 8/31

Glaxo does not score with preemption ruling in suicide case. I’m sure the lawyers are loving this. 8/30

A little fun – The Top 10 Weirdest Pharma Stories of the Month. 8/30

Anti-psychotics may double stroke risk – People taking antipsychotic drugs are nearly twice as likely to have a stroke compared to those not on the treatment, British researchers reported on Friday…more 8/29

A swipe at glitazones for diabetes treatment (from PharmaGossip) 8/29

Good news from Teva on Parkinson’s treatment: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said its Azilect pill is the first to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in new findings that may increase sales of the medicine to more than $1 billion…more 8/28

A few baby steps into social media by pharma companies. 8/28

Stroke prevention with drug combos: maybe not so much – Two studies released on Wednesday call into question the advantage of using a blood pressure medicine and a well-known blood thinner for preventing the recurrence of a stroke…more 8/28

UCB brings out a heavy axe – The Belgian drugmaker that bought Schwarz Pharma is cutting 2,000 jobs, or 17 percent of its staff, to spur profits and lower administrative costs. The move is part of an effort to redirect $444 million into research on meds for immunology and the central nervous system…more 8/28

Amgen getting rid of “bundling sales” practice (it’s about time) – the company is getting rid of “bundling” — giving docs discounts on other Amgen drugs based on how much of their anemia-drug business consisted of Amgen’s Aranesp…more 8/28

Cell Genesys plunges after troubling trial results…butRecent news of high fatalies during one its drug trials has weighed on Cell Genesys‘ stock price, but the company may be able to overcome the blow

if data from a different study helps it gain FDA approval…more 8/28

Replidyne plunging downhill fast – Drug developer Replidyne Inc said it will restructure its operations, reduce its headcount by about 80 percent to 5 employees and take a charge of $3.1 million…more 8/28

From Forbes: Vytorin efficacy questions still nipping at the heels. And, the cancer scare. 8/28

More bad pancreatitis news with Byetta. 8/27

An interesting analysis of Abbott’s strengths and weaknesses moving forward. 8/27

Lilly’s Cymbalta: a Swiss army knife drug with too many indications? 8/27

BMS/Pfizer new blood clotting drug not flowing smoothly – Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday their apixaban blood clot preventer failed its primary goal in a late-stage trial, and that they no longer plan to seek marketing approval next year for the pill…more 8/27

Scrips and tripspharmas paying out big for “medical education” junkets 8/25

So now we have the Ambien rooster?? 8/25

Amgen gets drug approval from FDAAmgen Inc drug Nplate is safe and effective for treating a rare clotting disorder that can cause dangerous bleeding, the Food and Drug Administration said on Friday in approving the product for U.S. sales…more 8/25

King making bid for Alpharma – The unsolicited cash bid is a move to create a bigger specialty drugmaker and expand a nascent effor to develop meds for treating pain. The offer is $33 per share amounts to a 37 percent premium over the $24.04 closing price of Alpharma’s common stock yesterday. King actually first made the offer to Alpharma in a letter on Aug. 4 and said the offering represents a 49 percent premium, based on the share price that day…more 8/22

After all that battering in the press, a positive spin on HRT – Hormone replacement therapy can improve the quality of a woman’s life, easing the distress of hot flashes, sleep disturbances and restoring lost sexual functioning, researchers reported on Thursday…more 8/22

A promising experimental cystic fibrosis drug (PTC Therapeutics) 8/22

Abbott Diagnostics planning big cuts – Abbott Laboratories Inc  said on Thursday it would eliminate about 1,000 jobs over the next four years as part of a plan to streamline operations and cut costs in its medical diagnostics business…more 8/22

Genentech employees getting restless about potential Roche takeover: recruiters circling, retention bonuses adding up -Aside from announcing that Genentech is not settling for Roche’s $44 billion offer because it “substantially undervalues the company,” the San Francisco-based biotech made it known that if would be implementing an employee-retention program to help its people make sense of the Roche deal… more 8/22

Gilead Sciences – growing! 8/22

J&J’s Doribax for pneumonia: more info, please. 8/21

Buying out biotechs – A buyout bull’s-eye will likely remain on biotechnology companies over the next few years as major pharmaceutical companies continue taking advantage of a weak dollar and a surplus of cash to buy pipeline additions….more 8/21

Wyeth, Elan, and Alzheimer’s: is this experimental drug worth the pursuit? – In what is becoming a sadly common ritual, Wyeth and Elan are pressing forward with an expensive, large-scale “phase III” trial of a risky drug based on wishful thinking and shoddy statistical analysis…more 8/21

Expensive cost cutting at Sepracor. 8/21

Gardasil – not worth the cost? – That’s the conclusion of a new study that is going to make life much harder for Merck to wring needed sales out of its controversial HPV vaccine. The study, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, comes as the drugmaker is already struggling to convince college-age and older women to get the vaccine, which costs about $360 for a three-dose regimen….more 8/21

Might daily Cialis help with symptoms of enlarged prostate? 8/20

Just came across this BNET Industries site which consolidates Pharma news. Looks pretty good! 8/20

Feel like debating a single-payer (government-run) healthcare system? Here’s a lively debate, from the WSJ Health blog (see the comments). 8/20

Roche, Accutane, and IBD – is there any link? 8/20

Clinical trials: cancer gets the lion’s share – Most registered trials were in oncology, followed by central nervous system disorders, cardiology, infectious diseases, endocrinology, and respiratory diseases. These six therapeutic areas accounted for 68 percent of 3,515l protocols…more 8/20

BMS and PDL go after MMLBristol-Myers Squibb Company and PDL BioPharma, Inc.  today announced an agreement for the global development and commercialization of PDL BioPharmas anti-CS1 antibody, elotuzumab, previously known as HuLuc63, currently in Phase I development for multiple myeloma…more 8/19

Vytorin prescriptions: hitting bottom? 8/19

My pipeline’s bigger than your pipeline – who’s got the goods to be able to claim it? You might be surprised… 8/18

Warning on deaths associated with Byetta – The FDA is working on a stronger label for the widely used diabetes drug, which is marketed by Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals after deaths continue to be reported despite earlier government warnings. Six new new reports were received of patients developing a dangerous form of pancreatitis while taking Byetta… more 8/18 But, fair balance 8/20

Jersey jobs walking out – Layoffs and restructurings are taking a toll on drug and device makers in New Jersey, which for decades has prided itself on being home to many of the world’s biggest such companies…more 8/18

Was a key Vioxx study less than scientifically stellar? – A 1999 Merck study of Vioxx, which was touted to participating doctors and patients as easier to stomach than another drug, was primarily a stealth marketing strategy, according to a report to be published this week in The Annals of Internal Medicine…more 8/18

Do “charming” sales reps earn more? (from John Mack’s Pharma Marketing blog). And, in a similar vein: D’uh! 8/18

What’s Next? Ban Free Drug Samples? (from John Mack’s Pharma Marketing blog). 8/18

Which presidential candidate has received more donations from pharma execs? By a factor of three? 8/18

Abbott to co-promote Crestor – Seeking to increase its share of voice without beefing up its sales force, AstraZeneca is partnering with Abbott on a co-promotion of Crestor in the US…more 8/14

New antibody drug helps nail blood cancer – A new kind of antibody drug that makes the body’s own “killer” cells fight tumors has produced promising early-stage results in patients with a deadly form of blood cancer, researchers said on Thursday…more 8/14

Genentech to Roche: No thanks, but maybe. 8/13

MS drug may work against viral infection – A drug that Novartis AG is testing in people with multiple sclerosis also has the potential to treat certain viral infections, perhaps including the AIDS virus, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday….more 8/13

FDA extends review of Centocor drug – Centocor, Inc., today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasextended the review timeline for the Biologic License Application for ustekinumab, a subcutaneous biologic therapy, by three months to December 2008. The application, filed by Centocor late in 2007, seeks approval to market ustekinumab for the treatment of adult patients with chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis…more 8/8

It’s a slow year so far for FDA drug approvals 8/8

Go ahead, Massachusetts…make my day – This morning, five trade groups representing drugmakers and biotechs took out a full-page ad in The Boston Globe arguing the bill will “significantly curtail, if not end altogether, the availability of these last hope clinical trials in Massachusetts….more 8/7

Kidney cancer drugs too costly? Yes, says UK – Is extending life by a few months worth $50,000? No, says the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. In a report out today, the group concluded that several new drugs for advanced kidney cancer aren’t cost-effective…more 8/7

King Pharma income takes a plunge. And some other question marks about an upcoming pain treatment here. 8/7

Rituxan may help a kidney disease – The cancer drug rituximab can help heal the kidneys of patients with a common condition known as membranous nephropathy, Italian researchers reported on Wednesday…more 8/6

Eat your broccoli! 8/6

Artificial blood producing genuine problems. A recent meta-analysis of trials on several substitutes — including Hemopure — contains some gory results. Turns out, the fake bloods scavenge nitric oxide, causing vasoconstriction; patients who get them are 2.7 times more likely to have a heart attack and 30 percent more likely to die… 8/6

Abbott dips into podcasting (for Chrohn’s patients). 8/6

Live long and prosper, with Byetta? – Can Byetta, an injectable drug that lowers blood sugar, really help people with diabetes to live longer? Possibly, according to the results of a major clinical trial presented at the American Diabetes Association annual conference…more 8/6

Which pharma company will be biggest in 2014? The projections might surprise you… 8/6

FDA to advertise fake blood pressure pill – OK, that’s weird… 8/5

Maybe sleep meds not so great – In its latest bid to track prescription drug use, Consumer Reports conducted a survey last spring of 1,466 Americans who took sleeping pills and found that nearly half have difficulties. Consquently, many are turning to prescription meds with what CR calls “frightening results.” Here they are…more 8/5

Rutgers unveils mini-MBA program for pharma professionals. 8/5

Feel-good story about Sinemet helping a young boy who has Parkinson’s. 8/5

SGP entangled with a whistleblower mess (inherited from Organon) – Last month, Schering-Plough’s lawyers filed a motion in federal court in New Jersey arguing that a former medical director at Organon, which the drugmaker recently paid $14.3 billion to acquire, wasn’t qualified to bring a whistleblower lawsuit alleging Organon covered-up serious side effects prior to launching two drugs several years ago…more 8/5

The Medicines Company gets approval for cleviprex – The Medicines Company announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the intravenous (IV) therapy CleviprexTM (clevidipine butyrate) injectable emulsion for the reduction of blood pressure when oral therapy is not feasible or not desirable…more 8/4

Careful about giving cold meds to babies – Yet another study raises questions about the dangers of giving cough and cold meds to babies. A “surprising” number of small children taken to emergency rooms after they stop breathing or lose consciousness have OTC meds in their systems, USA Today writes, citing the study in Pediatricsmore 8/4

Beware of Mass. reps bearing gifts – When Massachusetts’ House of Representatives approved a big healthcare bill last month, drug and device makers and data firms thought they’d ducked several bullets, but the final bill, passed by both houses last night, includes a few nasty surprises for industry – including a code of conduct for drug marketers, an academic detailing program and stringent reporting requirements for payments to physicians…more 8/4

GSK cutting down oncology personnel – The ax is falling again at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). This time it’s the oncology group… more 8/4

Who might be next in the pharma takeover phrenzy? 8/4

A doctor’s balanced perspective on the recent Vytorin kerfuffle. 8/4

Schering announces encouraging results for experimental Hep-C drug – Schering-Plough Corp  said on Monday that interim results from a mid-stage study of its experimental hepatitis C drug showed promising results, sending shares of rival Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc down more than 10 percent in early trading…more 8/4

Novartis get two big approvals for HPB combo pills – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two single-pill combination medications, Diovan HCT® (valsartan and hydrochlorothiazide) and Exforge® (amlodipine and valsartan), as initial or ‘first-line’ therapies in patients likely to need multiple drugs to achieve their blood pressure goals…more 8/4

Good news on statins and memory loss – People at high risk for dementia who took cholesterol-lowering statins are half as likely to develop dementia as those who do not take statins, a new study shows…more 8/4

New/old cancer treatment: methadone effective against leukemia! – “Methadone kills sensitive leukemia cells and also breaks treatment resistance, but without any toxic effects on non-leukemic blood cells…”more 8/4

Backing away from CME – Trying to steer clear of potential conflicts of interest, two medical industry giants are distancing themselves from a little-known breed of marketing specialists. The recent steps by the drugmaker Pfizer (PFE) and Zimmer Holdings (ZMH), a medical device manufacturer, illuminate subtle promotional tactics other companies continue to aim at doctors, despite mounting concern on the part of some physicians and ethicists…more 8/4

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Novartis Pharma US CEO Alex Gorsky resigns.

Genentech‘s Avastin and breast cancer – meets study goals, gets approved.

Heparin investigation gets ugly for Baxter. If you click on the link in the 2nd paragraph to look at the pictures of manufacturing in China, do so well before your next meal…uggh.

New treatment for Hemophilia A – Wyeth‘s Xyntha approved.

Prasugrel (Lilly/Daiichi-Sankyo), new anti-clotting treatment, gets priority review.

Stem cells and diabetes – an encouraging new study result.

Can statins ease irregular heartbeat?

Cancer drug Rituxan may be useful in treating MS.

Pfizer‘s Sutent linked to heart failure in some patients.

How a promising new potential treatment was unveiled through a very big mouse!

More Americans are taking more drugs. I would love to see some context around stats like this – such as, what are the possible healthcare savings that may be a result??

In defense of drug rep/doctor schmoozing.

Amgen probed for unethical marketing practices – another whistleblower case.

Stop leaking calcium!

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