Senior Correspondent, London
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Dec 8, 2014
Dec 8, 2014

Pfizer bets on gene therapy as technology comes of age

LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc is moving into
the gene therapy space in the latest sign that the technology
for fixing faulty genes may finally be ready for prime time,
following earlier setbacks.

The U.S. drugmaker said on Monday it was establishing a gene
therapy platform to study potential treatments, led by a top UK
expert, and had struck a deal with privately owned U.S. biotech
firm Spark Therapeutics to develop a treatment for haemophilia.

Dec 8, 2014

Merck to take on superbugs with Cubist Pharma buy

By Vidya L Nathan and Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it would buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc (CBST.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $8.4 billion plus assumption of debt, giving the major drugmaker an entry into the market for drugs that combat so-called superbugs.

The deal is the latest sign that large pharmaceutical companies are turning their attention back to antibiotics after decades of low investment.

Dec 4, 2014
Dec 4, 2014

GlaxoSmithKline abandons sale of older drugs

LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it had decided not to sell a portfolio of older drugs marketed in North America and Europe after considering offers from potential buyers.

“The company has evaluated all bids received and has concluded, consistent with its key criteria of maximising shareholder value, not to pursue divestment of these products,” it said in a statement.

Dec 4, 2014

BTG to buy U.S. lung device company for up to $475 million

LONDON (Reuters) – BTG, the healthcare group best known for treating rattlesnake bites and varicose veins, is expanding into lung care by buying a Californian firm that has developed a device to prop open airways.

The British company said on Thursday it would pay an initial $230 million and up to $245 million in performance-related future milestone payments to acquire privately-owned PneumRx.

Dec 4, 2014

Ebola booster vaccine starts first trials in Oxford

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists at Oxford University have launched the first clinical tests of a new Ebola vaccine approach, using a booster developed by Denmark’s Bavarian Nordic that may improve the effects of a shot from GlaxoSmithKline.

Thirty healthy volunteers in Britain who have already received the experimental Ebola vaccine being developed by GSK and the U.S. National Institutes of Health will get the booster shot, researchers said on Thursday.

Dec 4, 2014

GSK cuts U.S. research and sales jobs as market gets tougher

LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is to shed hundreds of U.S. commercial and research jobs, restructuring operations in its biggest market where drug sales are flagging.

A total of 900 posts will be eliminated at GSK’s Research Triangle Park site in North Carolina as drug research is consolidated in Philadelphia and in Stevenage, near London, according to a filing with the North Carolina Department of Commerce. (here)

Dec 3, 2014

GSK cuts U.S. sales and research jobs as market gets tougher

LONDON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline said on
Wednesday it would shed “several hundred” U.S. commercial jobs
and a similar number of research positions as it restructures
operations in its biggest market, where drug sales are flagging.

Many of the jobs lost will be from GSK’s Research Triangle
Park site in North Carolina as drug research is consolidated in
Philadelphia and in Stevenage, near London.

Dec 3, 2014
    • 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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