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Mar 29, 2015

GSK agrees UK deal for meningitis shot after Novartis stand-off

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline has
reached a deal with the British government to supply a new
meningitis B vaccine, following a lengthy stand-off over price
with the product’s previous owner Novartis.

Health minister Jeremy Hunt announced the deal on Sunday,
which he said would make Britain the first country in the world
to have a nationwide vaccination programme for the potentially
deadly childhood disease.

Mar 27, 2015

Novo Nordisk surges on plan to resubmit rejected insulin in U.S.

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Denmark’s Novo Nordisk is to resubmit its new insulin Tresiba to U.S. regulators based on interim analysis data from a clinical trial, bringing its biggest new drug hope closer to the world’s top market.

Shares in the company leapt 13 percent to an all-time high in early trade in Copenhagen on Friday after it said it would file with the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) within the next month. The drug was rebuffed by the FDA two years ago.

Mar 26, 2015

WHO urges Europeans to work together to counter high drug prices

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) – European governments need to be
better at sharing expertise about the cost-effectiveness of new
medicines to counter the budget strains posed by the arrival of
a wave of costly drugs, according to the World Health
Organization (WHO).

Only a few countries across Europe have robust systems in
place to evaluate whether drugs are worth using at the prices
asked by manufacturers, the WHO said.

Mar 24, 2015

Exclusive: Drug that caused ‘elephant man’ side effect makes comeback after 2006 disaster

LONDON (Reuters) – An experimental drug that caused appalling side effects in a clinical trial nine years ago is back in tests for rheumatoid arthritis and is showing promise when given at a fraction of the original dose.

The small German-Russian biotech firm which now owns the drug hopes to confirm its benefits in a mid-stage trial, starting in June, and then bring in a major pharmaceutical company as a strategic investor, its chief executive told Reuters.

Mar 23, 2015

Bristol, Sanofi and Novartis drugs to shine among 2015 launches

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) – Bristol-Myers Squibb,
Sanofi and Novartis have the three top new
drugs set to reach the market in 2015, among 11 products each
with $1 billion-plus sales potential, according to a Thomson
Reuters analysis.

More potential blockbusters are expected to be launched this
year than last, in an encouraging sign for the pharmaceutical
industry, which relies on new products to replenish sales as
older medicines go off patent.

Mar 18, 2015

Sanofi R&D head bemoans divergence in global drug regulation

LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) – The gap between regulatory
decisions on new medicines made in different parts of the world
is increasing, imposing a high cost on industry and deterring
investment, the head of research at France’s Sanofi
said on Wednesday.

Elias Zerhouni, speaking at a conference in London to mark
the 20th anniversary of the European Medicines Agency (EMA),
said there was an “urgent” need to harmonise regulations,
potentially through discussions at the G8 or G20 groups of
nations.

Mar 17, 2015

Novo Nordisk CEO apparent sees even more focus on diabetes

LONDON (Reuters) – Other big drugmakers may be reshaping their businesses but Novo Nordisk’s focus on diabetes will get even bigger in the coming decade, according to the man most likely to be the Danish company’s next boss.

Kaare Schultz, who was made deputy chief executive in January 2014 and is the frontrunner to eventually succeed 60-year-old Lars Sorensen, said diabetes was likely to account for 80-90 percent of sales in 10 years, up from 79 percent now.

Mar 17, 2015

Dementia drug research aided by $100 million venture capital fund

LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s first venture capital fund dedicated to finding new ways to prevent and treat dementia has raised $100 million with the backing of the British government and several of the world’s leading drugmakers.

The Global Dementia Discovery Fund is unique in focusing on a single difficult to treat disorder and in bringing together industry and government.

Mar 17, 2015

Dementia drug research aided by $100 million venture capital fund

LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s first venture capital fund dedicated to finding new ways to prevent and treat dementia has raised $100 million with the backing of the British government and several of the world’s leading drugmakers.

The Global Dementia Discovery Fund is unique in focusing on a single difficult to treat disorder and in bringing together industry and government.

Mar 16, 2015

AstraZeneca heart drug results positive but not knock-out

LONDON (Reuters) – New clinical trial results with AstraZeneca’s heart drug Brilinta are positive but bleeding risks suggest the company’s sales force still has its work cut out to get the medicine widely adopted for long-term use.

AstraZeneca is relying on Brilinta, which it believes can sell $3.5 billion annually by 2023, to help offset a wave of patent losses on older drugs. The product was a central plank in its defense against a takeover bid by Pfizer last year.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Hirschler is European pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare correspondent, based in London. Previously, he was in charge of British company news and before that was posted to Johannesburg, covering the economic challenges facing post-apartheid South Africa."
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