Senior Correspondent, London
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Feb 7, 2014

Shire scraps Vyvanse for depression after failed trials

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Pharmaceuticals group Shire
has halted development of its top-selling hyperactivity
drug Vyvanse as a treatment for depression after it failed to
treat patients successfully in two late-stage clinical trials.

The news sent the drugmaker’s high-flying shares down by
about 2 percent to 30.80 pounds by 0830 GMT, though they remain
within a whisker of this week’s record high of 31.53 pounds,
reflecting investor confidence in Shire’s underlying growth.

Feb 6, 2014

AstraZeneca takes on Merck in Alzheimer’s drug race

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca is moving an
experimental Alzheimer’s drug into late-stage development,
taking on U.S. rival Merck & Co which announced plans to
start similar final-stage research in December.

Britain’s second-biggest drugmaker revealed its plan to move
AZD3293 into the last phase of testing needed for registration
as it announced full-year results on Thursday.

Feb 6, 2014
Feb 6, 2014
Feb 6, 2014

Big Pharma pushes for U.S. action against India on drugs

MUMBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Global pharmaceutical firms are pressuring the United States to act against India to stop more local companies producing up to a dozen new varieties of cheap generic drugs still on-patent, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

An Indian government committee is reviewing patented drugs of foreign firms to see if so-called compulsory licences, which in effect break exclusivity rights, can be issued for some of them to bring down costs, two senior government officials told Reuters.

Feb 6, 2014

Big Pharma pushes for U.S. action against India over patent worries

MUMBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Global pharmaceutical firms are pressuring the United States to act against India to stop more local companies producing up to a dozen new varieties of cheap generic drugs still on-patent, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

An Indian government committee is reviewing patented drugs of foreign firms to see if so-called compulsory licenses, which in effect break exclusivity rights, can be issued for some of them to bring down costs, two senior government officials told Reuters.

Feb 6, 2014

AstraZeneca earnings heading south as patent losses bite

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca expects
earnings to continue to fall in 2014 as generic competition to
its popular heartburn and ulcer drug Nexium takes a big bite out
of U.S. profits from May.

The British drugmaker said on Thursday that group sales this
year were likely to decline by a low-to-mid single digit
percentage figure, with earnings per share falling “in the
teens”, due to the loss of such profitable medicines.

Feb 5, 2014

Bionic hand allows amputee to feel again

LONDON (Reuters) – Dennis Aabo Sorensen lost his left hand when a firework rocket he was holding exploded during New Year’s Eve celebrations 10 years ago, and he never expected to feel anything with the stump again.

But for a while last year he regained his sense of touch after being attached to a “feeling” bionic hand that allowed him to grasp and identify objects even when blindfolded.

Feb 5, 2014

GSK upbeat on heart drug, cancer vaccine despite setbacks

LONDON (Reuters) – Two high-risk bets by GlaxoSmithKline on new ways to fight heart disease and cancer were dealt a double blow last year by dud clinical trials – but the company remains hopeful about both projects.

Chief Executive Andrew Witty said on Wednesday there were still “intriguing” opportunities for its heart drug darapladib and MAGE-A3 therapeutic cancer vaccine.

Feb 5, 2014

Dutch gene therapy pioneer raises $82 mln in U.S. IPO

Feb 5 (Reuters) – A small Dutch company behind the Western
world’s first approved gene therapy priced its shares above the
expected range in a U.S. stock offering on Wednesday, showing
the current investor appetite for biotechnology.

Amsterdam-based uniQure said it would sell 5.4
million shares at an initial public offering price of $17.00
each, netting it $81.9 million after expenses. It had previously
indicated a price range of $13.00 to $15.00.

    • 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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