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The Burrill Features
Roche and Illumina Duke It out Ahead of Annual Meeting PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 March 2012 06:56

Hostile campaign heats up as companies court votes.

Both Roche and Illumina sent letters to Illumina shareholders a month ahead of the company’s annual meeting on April 18 urging them to vote for their board of directors’ nominations. Roche, in January, made a $5.7 billion hostile takeover bid for Illumina, which Illumina’s current board of directors has rejected as grossly undervaluing the company.

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Wellcome Trust Launches $317 Million Investment Fund PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 March 2012 06:50

New business will back healthcare and life sciences companies.

The U.K.’s largest charity, the Wellcome Trust, says it plans to invest $317 million (£200 million) in emerging healthcare and life sciences businesses and technologies.

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An iPOPping Result PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:09

A Stanford researcher analyzing his own DNA and RNA uncovers and tracks the onset of his diabetes.

A Stanford University geneticist and members of his lab that have gathered and analyzed his DNA, RNA, and proteins made by his cells first uncovered that he had a genetic predisposition for developing type-2 diabetes, and then watched the disease unfold at a molecular level over the next two years as his research continued.

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Merck Commits $90 Million to Found Drug Discovery Center PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:06

Research support buys Merck an option to exclusively license any promising drug candidates.

Merck says it will invest $90 million over seven years to build a new, non-profit translational research center in San Diego to provide expertise and resources for academic scientists to maximize the therapeutic potential of their discoveries.

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Pfizer Ends $350 Million Insulin Pact PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 03:28

Major blow for India’s largest biotech company.

Pfizer has scrapped its deal to sell insulin products made by Biocon, ending a partnership that had yet to hit the two year mark. The breakup leaves Biocon without a partner to sell its insulin drugs in key markets, including the United States, and could leave untapped an opportunity for of hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties for the company.

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Shire Surprisingly Pulls Biologics License Application PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 02:50

The weekly round-up of failed trials, missed targets, and other business mishaps.

Shire said that it is pulling its application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin marketing its experimental drug to treat Fabry disease, Reprigel, after the agency indicated that Shire may need to run new clinical studies before it would approve the treatment. The news was an unexpected turn of events for Shire, considering that the FDA had actually pushed the company to submit its BLA. “Shire has had a close partnership with the global Fabry patient community for over 10 years, and we are extremely disappointed that we feel compelled to make this decision,” said Sylvie Gregoire, president of Shire Human Genetic Therapies. The company also stated that a new trial would take at least two years to complete and wouldn’t be economically justifiable.

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Cost of Drugs Rockets Past Inflation, Says AARP PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 March 2012 01:32

While use of generics reduces spending, AARP finds brand and specialty drugs offset savings.

Average U.S. retail prices for widely used prescription drugs increased by nearly 26 percent between 2005 and 2009, driving up out-of-pocket expenses for many Medicare beneficiaries and pushing the average annual cost for drugs used to treat chronic conditions up $1,152 higher than five years earlier, according to a new analysis by the AARP Public Policy Institute.

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Gilead Falls on News of Additional Hep C Patients Relapsing PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 March 2012 01:19

The weekly round-up of failed trials, missed targets, and other business mishaps.

Gilead said that two more patients in a small segment of a mid-stage trial testing its experimental hepatitis C drug, acquired through the company’s $11 billion purchase of Pharmasset, had the virus return within four weeks of completing treatment. The latest results from the 10-patient mini-trial, brings to eight the number of patients who have relapsed after completing a 12-week treatment regimen.

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Boston Scientific to Acquire Cameron Health for Up to $1.4B PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 March 2012 00:03

Deal could jumpstart Boston Scientific’s sluggish cardiac defibrillator business.

Boston Scientific has exercised its option to acquire privately held Cameron Health in a structured deal that could pay nearly $1.4 billion if all sales milestones are met. The San Clemente, California-based maker of a novel defibrillator will receive $150 million upfront, another $150 million if its device is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and nearly $1.1 billion contingent on meeting sales milestones over six years.

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Shire Inks Antibody Discovery Alliance with arGEN-X PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2012 06:20

Human antibody product collaboration in rare diseases.

Shire has struck a new alliance with the small biopharmaceutical arGEN-X to create novel therapeutic antibodies against multiple targets.

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JNJ Faces Flood of Lawsuits for Unauthorized Medical Device PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 March 2012 06:54

The weekly round-up of failed trials, missed targets, and other business mishaps.

Johnson & Johnson sold a vaginal mesh implant for three years before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device. That device, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence, is now the subject of more than 550 lawsuits by women who say it injured them. J&J’s Ethicon unit introduced the device, Gynecare Prolift, in March 2005. The FDA, however, did not become aware of the device until 2007, when J&J was seeking approval for a follow-on device, the Prolift +M.

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California Cigarette Tax Could Ignite Cancer Research PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:10

California voters in June will decide on Proposition 29, a measure that would generate more than $700 million a year for cancer research and anti-smoking efforts through a new $1 a pack tax on cigarettes. The measure is opposed by tobacco companies as a “$735 million tax hike” that is “flawed and poorly drafted,” but proponents including patient advocacy groups and universities argue it will bring significant health and economic benefits to the Golden State. We spoke to Jim Knox, vice president of legislative advocacy for the American Cancer Society and a member of the Yes on 29 board, about the proposition, what passage could mean to cancer research, and what it would do for California’s status as a center for biomedical innovation.

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Boston Scientific Connects With Vodafone for Cardiac Monitoring PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:08

New partnership extends the reach of monitoring systems as landline use falls in developed nations.

Boston Scientific says it is extending the wireless network for its in-home Latitude cardiac monitoring system beyond the United States through a new Vodafone partnership.

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Shire Buys FerroKin BioSciences for $325 Million PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 03:32

Attractive market opportunity and good strategic fit draw Shire’s interest.

Shire said it would by FerroKin BioSciences for $100 million in cash and up to $225 million in milestones. The company has developed an experimental drug in mid-stage clinical testing to treat iron overload in anemic patients.

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Biogen Idec Looks Ahead on MS PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 03:23

Seeks novel therapies in deal with MAKScientific’s cannabis-based compounds.

Biogen Idec, already a major player in treatments for multiple sclerosis, has moved to strengthen its leadership in the space through a collaboration and license option with privately held Boston-based biotech MAKScientific for new treatments for multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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Alzheimer’s Costs to Top $200 Billion a Year PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 March 2012 01:37

New report paints grim picture.

Caring for people with Alzheimer’s or other related dementias will cost the United States an estimated $200 billion in 2012, according to a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

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J&J Impresses with Prostate Cancer Drug PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 March 2012 01:29

Interim results on Zytiga show clinical benefit, dampening enthusiasm for Dendreon shares.

Johnson & Johnson released interim data from a late-stage study that showed its prostate cancer drug, Zytiga, improved survival of men with less advanced forms of the disease. The newly released data may help expand the indication of the already approved drug to treat a larger patient pool.

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Working Out at Starbucks PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 March 2012 01:17

Researchers find caffeine alters DNA as much as exercise.

There’s nothing I like better than a study that reinforces my lifestyle preferences, even if what the researchers are actually saying differs from my self-indulgent interpretation of their work. The latest piece of scholarship falling into this category comes from researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, a highly respected and renowned institution I might add.

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The Long Journey from the Amazon to the FDA PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2012 06:21

At the end of February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified Napo Pharmaceuticals that it would grant it a priority review for the company’s application to market its experimental drug Crefelomar to treat chronic diarrhea in people living with HIV or AIDS on antiretroviral therapy. Though legal battles continue for the company over its agreement with partners on the drug, the FDA’s acceptance of its application marks a milestone for a drug and a company that have traveled a long and winding trail to get to this point. We spoke to Lisa Conte, CEO of Napo, about the drug that is derived from a tree that’s plentiful in the Amazon, the company’s unusual development model, and the potential for the drug beyond its initial indication.

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Bribery a Growing Legal Liability for Big Pharma, says Reuters PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 March 2012 06:18

The weekly round-up of failed trials, missed targets, and other business mishaps.

Bribery of doctors and other state employees in emerging markets is turning into a significant legal liability for pharmaceutical giants, according to a special report from Reuters. The news service found eight of the world’s ten largest pharmaceutical companies have been warned in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings of potential costs relating to corruption charges in foreign markets.

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