Senior Correspondent, London
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Jul 30, 2015

AstraZeneca beats profit forecasts, helped by external deals

LONDON (Reuters) – AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) revenue fell by a smaller-than-expected 7 percent in the second quarter, as income from selling rights to medicines offset generic competition to older drugs and a strong dollar.

The drugmaker increased its revenue forecast for the year and said it now expected a low single-digit percentage decline, against mid single-digit previously, while core earnings are still expected to increase at a low single-digit rate.

Jul 29, 2015

Exclusive: GSK faces new corruption allegations, this time in Romania

LONDON (Reuters) – Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which was fined a record 3 billion yuan ($483 million) for corruption in China last year and is examining possible staff misconduct elsewhere, faces new allegations of bribery in Romania.

GSK confirmed it was looking into the latest claims of improper payments set out in a whistleblower’s email sent to its top management on Monday. A copy of the email was seen by Reuters.

Jul 29, 2015

GSK flags up pipeline as HIV drugs help it beat profit forecasts

LONDON (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline moved to reclaim its prowess as a research powerhouse on Wednesday by flagging up dozens of new drugs and vaccines in development, as demand for new HIV medicines helped it beat quarterly profit forecasts.

Strong sales of Tivicay and Triumeq validated GSK’s decision in May to keep its HIV business, rather than spinning it off, and offset a further slide in revenue from lung drug Advair and lower group profit margins following a major business overhaul.

Jul 29, 2015

GlaxoSmithKline beats profit forecasts despite Advair hit, lower margins

LONDON (Reuters) – A further slide in sales of lung drug Advair and lower profit margins following a business overhaul hit GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) in the second quarter, although core earnings per share fell by a less than expected 9 percent.

The drugmaker recently sold its marketed cancer drugs to Novartis (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and bought the Swiss group’s vaccines, while increasing its consumer health business through a joint venture.

Jul 27, 2015

New heart drugs come in more expensive than expected

LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) – Two of the most anticipated new
heart drugs to be launched in recent years have been priced well
above analyst expectations, fuelling the debate about whether
modern medicines cost too much.

Praluent, made by Sanofi and Regeneron
Pharmaceuticals, and Entresto from Novartis
are both treatments that represent significant advances for
millions of patients at risk of serious heart problems.

Jul 24, 2015

AstraZeneca chases biosimilar Avastin drug with Japanese group

LONDON (Reuters) – AstraZeneca is dipping its toe in the biosimilars market, as a way to make future cancer drug cocktails more affordable, by linking with a Japanese group to develop a copy of Roche’s blockbuster medicine Avastin.

Its new 50/50 joint venture with Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics (FKB) will work on a copycat version of Avastin, which is currently used in a range of solid tumors and also has potential to be given alongside new immunotherapy treatments.

Jul 24, 2015

Sanofi’s big new cholesterol drug wins European green light

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – A new type of cholesterol drug
from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals won
a green light from European regulators on Friday, two months
behind a rival product from Amgen.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said its experts had
recommended Praluent for patients unable to control their
cholesterol despite taking optimal doses of conventional statin
pills or who cannot take statins.

Jul 24, 2015

AC Immune gets IPO ticket as Alzheimer’s drug advances

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Swiss biotech firm AC Immune is one step closer to a potential stock market listing after a decision this week by partner Roche (ROG.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to advance its experimental Alzheimer’s drug crenezumab into pivotal clinical tests.

“It’s very significant for us,” Chief Executive Andrea Pfeifer told Reuters. “It validates our pipeline, it validates our technology and it gives us very nice push in valuation.”

Jul 23, 2015

Roche sees two-year window before copycat biotech drugs hit

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Switzerland’s Roche (ROG.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) expects no copycat competition to its biotech cancer drugs for another two years, giving it space to grow a successful portfolio of new and established medicines.

The strategy is working so far, with group sales in the first half increasing by a slightly better-than-expected 3 percent as demand for oncology drugs helped offset the strength of the Swiss franc.

Jul 22, 2015

Roche steps up work on two experimental Alzheimer’s drugs

LONDON (Reuters) – Roche is to step up its research efforts on two Alzheimer’s drugs, both of which suffered setbacks in tests last year, reflecting its belief in drugs targeting protein plaques found in brains of patients with the disease.

The move follows new evidence presented on Wednesday that rival antibody drugs from Eli Lilly and Biogen, working in a similar way, may produce improvements in people with the memory-robbing condition.

    • 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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