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The Burrill Features
Cigna Deal Bulks up Catamaran's Muscle PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:11

The health insurance company Cigna announced it has entered into a 10-year agreement with Catamaran, the nation’s fourth largest pharmacy benefits manager. With Cigna’s 8 million customers, the deal secures Catamaran’s place among the nation’s largest PBMs. We spoke to Adam Fein, founder and president of Pembroke Consulting, about the agreement, the importance PBMs like Catamaran play in the world of healthcare today, and what the growing power of these organizations mean to drugmakers.

Amgen Invests $25 Million to Expand Cytokinetics Agreement PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:07

Deal includes $10 million equity purchase.

Amgen and Cytokinetics have expanded their strategic collaboration to provide the biotech giant rights in Japan to Cytokinetics’ experimental heart failure drug for a $15 million license fee. In addition, Amgen is purchasing $10 million of Cytokinetics common stock.

G8 Science Ministers Spotlight Antibiotics Resistance PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:02

Group commits to greater cooperation and research to combat growing problem.

British Science Minister David Willetts urged fellow G8 science ministers meeting at the U.K.'s Royal Society to step up their response to overuse of antibiotics and improve coordination of global scientific research to address the problem. 

Pfizer Reaches $2.15B Patent Dispute with Teva and Sun PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 16:58

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

Pfizer said it reached a $2.15 billion settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries over its patent-infringement suit relating to launches of generic Protonix in the United States. The settlement comes after a nearly 10-year legal battle in which Pfizer and Nycomed, now part of Takeda, sought to enforce the patent for its blockbuster acid reflux medicine. Pfizer and Takeda will divide the proceeds of the settlement with Pfizer receiving 64 percent. Under the terms of the settlement, Teva will pay Pfizer and Takeda $1.6 billion and Sun will pay $550 million. Teva will pay $800 million in 2013 and the remaining $800 million by October 2014; Sun’s entire payment will be made in 2013. As part of the settlement, both Teva and Sun have admitted that their sales of generic pantoprazole infringed the patent that was held valid by the court, Pfizer said.

Maxygen to Dissolve PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:21

Without options for its sole product, board says best decision is to distribute cash to shareholders.

Maxygen’s board is seeking shareholder approval to wind down and dissolve the company and distribute more than $68 million to stockholders.

New Class of Antibiotics on the Horizon PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:18

At least one compound identified that interferes with protein synthesis quality control.

A team of researchers has discovered what could become a new and more effective kind of antibiotic that disrupts protein synthesis in bacteria and makes them unable to replicate. With drug-resistant bacterial infections on the rise, it could be a solution to a major health concern around the world.

Supreme Court Backs DNA Collection in Arrests PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:12

Cheek swabs and addition to a national DNA database will become common, Scalia warns.

A divided U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police may take and analyze DNA samples from anyone arrested for a “serious offense” as part of the gathering of forensic evidence.

Saving Normal PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:11

As the American Psychiatric Association prepares to release the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, a long brewing controversy over the work has erupted into the mainstream. We spoke to Allen Frances, professor emeritus at Duke University and chairman of the DSM IV task force, about his criticism of the new manual, the damage he fears it will cause, and what he calls “the medicalization of normal.”


Pharma to Support Early-Stage Biotechs PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:08

Roche and Bayer team with QB3 while Atlas Ventures rounds up Amgen and Novartis.

As Big Pharma continues to externalize its early stage R&D, it is ramping up its efforts to tap early stage innovation and support biotech startups that may eventually help fill its pipeline. Both Roche and Bayer announced that they will work with startup accelerator California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, or QB3, to help identify, fund, and support early stage life science companies in the San Francisco Bay area. QB3 was established to create companies based on research conducted at the Universities of California Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz.

Supreme Court Rules Unanimously in Favor of Monsanto PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:05

Judges find Indiana farmer violated company’s patent when he reproduced its biotech seed.

In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously that Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman infringed on Monsanto’s patent for “Roundup Ready” soybean seeds when he bought second generation patented soybean seeds and planted and harvested them without Monsanto’s permission.

Cocktail of Generics as Good as Enbrel for Rheumatoid Arthritis PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:08

Study compared combination of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and methotrexate against high-priced biologic.

A study that compared a cocktail of generic drugs for rheumatoid arthritis to a combination of methotrexate and the Amgen’s blockbuster Enbrel found the low-cost alternative as effective as the high-priced biologic, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

SCOTUS Rules Genes Can’t Be Patented PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:04

Decision upholds parts of Myriad’s Patents

The U.S. Supreme Court said that genes cannot be patented in a unanimous ruling in the closely watched challenge to Myriad Genetics patents relating to the company’s test for genetic mutations tied to certain forms of breast and ovarian cancer. The ruling, however let stand Myriad’s patents on synthetic or complementary DNA relating to the tests. 

U.S. Enjoys a Near $1 Trillion Payoff from Human Genome Project PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 17:00

Report says government’s investment continues to produce significant economic returns.

The genetics and genomics industry’s impact on the United States economy has grown to nearly $1 trillion dollars from the United States government’s $3.8 billion investment in the Human Genome Project, according to an updated study from the global research and development organization Battelle.

Sourcing Innovation PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:23

Johnson & Johnson this month unveiled its new Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Center, one of four regional hubs being established in leading life science clusters. The center will house a diverse team of expert who are focused on forging early-stage collaborations with emerging companies, entrepreneurs, and academic centers. We spoke to Diego Miralles, who heads the center, about how it will operate, some of the deals it’s already made, and whether large pharmaceuticals companies need to change to better recognize and drive innovative products to market.

Pfizer Taps CytomX’s ADC Technology in Cancer PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:19

Biotech’s probodies are activated in tumor tissue but remain inert in healthy tissue.

Pfizer and CytomX Therapeutics have entered into a global strategic collaboration worth up to $635 million to develop and commercialize several new targeted anticancer drugs using the biotech’s probody drug conjugate technology.

International Alliance Seeks to Share Genomic and Clinical Data PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:16

Groups hope to seize “extraordinary opportunity” and avoid balkanization of information.

An international group of leading healthcare, research, and disease advocacy organizations have come together in an effort to establish standards to foster the sharing of genomic and clinical data in an effort to unlock the links between genes and health.

Sanofi’s Possible PARP-1 Inhibitor Fails Late-Stage Trial PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 23:09

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

Sanofi’s experimental therapy for lung cancer, iniparib, given in combination with chemotherapy failed a late-stage trial in patients with squamous cell lung cancer. The combination therapy did not improve overall survival compared to chemotherapy alone. In the international trial, previously untreated patients with squamous cell lung cancer received iniparib in combination with gemcitabine/carboplatin or only gemcitabine/carboplatin. Iniparib was initially predicted to function as a poly-ADP-ribose polymerase inhibitor, or PARP-1 inhibitor, based on its chemical structure and its ability to induce DNA damage, cell cycle arrest, and increase the efficacy of other DNA-damaging agents.

Obama Administration Offers $1 Billion for Healthcare Innovation PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:10

HHS awards designed to transform delivery and payment systems.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that nearly $1 billion will be made available in the second round of Health Care Innovation Awards for projects that have a “high likelihood” of cutting cost while delivering better outcomes.

Scientists Report Human Stem Cell Cloning Success PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:06

Caffeine and healthy cytoplasm promote growth following nuclear transfer.

Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University have successfully cloned human embryonic stem cells using a process similar to the one used to clone Dolly the Sheep.

AbbVie Options Alvine Celiac Drug for $70 Million PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:04

Collaboration could broaden pharma’s autoimmune pipeline.

AbbVie is expanding its stake in Alvine Pharmaceuticals with a $70 million payment for an exclusive option on Alvine’s mid-stage experimental therapy for Celiac disease, a genetically inherited autoimmune disease that causes damage to the small intestine gluten is consumed.

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