Senior Correspondent, London
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May 19, 2015

Amgen cholesterol drug could get EU green light this week

LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – Amgen’s new cholesterol
drug Repatha could be recommended for approval in Europe as
early as this week, putting it ahead in a race with a rival
product from Sanofi.

Repatha, or evolocumab, belongs to a new class of
cholesterol-lowering drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors that
clinical trials suggest may slash the risks of heart attacks
compared to standard treatment alone.

May 19, 2015

How to build the universe from Lego, over a pint of beer

LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – In a central London pub, a young
bearded physicist is demonstrating how to build a model of the
universe from plastic Lego bricks. Clue: you need a lot of them.

Across town, in different bars, other experts are probing
the mysteries of cancer and dementia, life on other planets, and
how to win a Nobel prize.

May 13, 2015

AstraZeneca drug combination on track to fight lung cancer

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – A closely watched immune system-boosting drug cocktail from Britain’s AstraZeneca shows promise in advanced lung cancer, despite adverse side effects in a number of patients.

Researchers said on Wednesday that the combination of the experimental drugs MEDI4736 and tremelimumab had “a manageable safety profile with evidence of clinical activity, including in PD-L1 negative disease”.

May 12, 2015

AstraZeneca digs into precision medicine with lung, heart deals

LONDON (Reuters) – AstraZeneca is diving deeper into personalized healthcare with two projects that move the concept beyond cancer into respiratory disorders and heart disease.

Personalized or precision medicine, which tailors treatment to a patient’s genetic profile, is an increasing focus for drug companies, especially after an initiative from U.S. President Barack Obama in January.

May 11, 2015

Hunt for AIDS cure accelerates as GSK and U.S. experts link up

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline, which decided last week to retain rather than float off its HIV drugs business, is to collaborate with U.S. scientists in developing a cure for AIDS.

Until recently, many researchers were reluctant to even discuss the possibility of curing the disease caused by HIV, which infects 35 million people worldwide, since the obstacles seemed insurmountable.

May 7, 2015

New GSK chairman backs CEO Witty to stay at helm

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline’s new
chairman Philip Hampton has thrown his support behind the
company’s current structure and chief executive despite pressure
from some shareholders for a change.

In his first comments since becoming chairman at the
conclusion of the drugmaker’s annual meeting on Thursday,
Hampton told reporters he hoped that CEO Andrew Witty would
continue to run GSK for a good length of time.

May 6, 2015

GlaxoSmithKline targets growth across units, scraps ViiV listing

LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) laid out growth targets for its biggest businesses on Wednesday, hoping to convince investors that focusing on consumer health and vaccines would return the drugmaker to long-term growth.

It also scrapped plans to float its HIV drug business ViiV Healthcare, citing its strong outlook, and promised to pay a steady dividend of 80 pence a share over the next three years.

May 6, 2015

New-look GSK bets on consumer health spending

LONDON (Reuters) – Consumers from New York to New Delhi are digging deeper in their pockets for over-the-counter remedies and health products, a trend GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is banking on to help shape the next chapter in its evolution.

Emma Walmsley, head of the British drugmaker’s enlarged consumer healthcare business, says its market-leading position in areas such as pain relief and oral health will bolster the division’s margins and make it a partner of choice for retailers.

May 6, 2015

Interview – New-look GSK bets on consumer health spending

LONDON (Reuters) – Consumers from New York to New Delhi are digging deeper in their pockets for over-the-counter remedies and health products, a trend GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is banking on to help shape the next chapter in its evolution.

Emma Walmsley, head of the British drugmaker’s enlarged consumer healthcare business, says its market-leading position in areas such as pain relief and oral health will bolster the division’s margins and make it a partner of choice for retailers.

May 3, 2015

Love-in for health service looms large in British election

LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) – “Oh, you girls are lovely. I
wouldn’t do your job for all the money in the world,” says the
elderly orthopaedic patient as two nurses help her off a bedpan.

Across the ward, another woman on the mend after a fall says
her stay has cured a life-long fear of hospitals.

    • 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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