Senior Correspondent, London
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Apr 21, 2015

Healthy eating sparks M&A on blurring frontier between food and drugs

LONDON (Reuters) – A boom in “nutraceuticals” – food and drinks with potential health benefits – is paving the way for a rush of deals, as food and drug companies compete to dominate a market expected to be worth $280 billion by 2018.

Consumers have been encouraged to eat smarter by an obesity epidemic and a burst of fitness-focused technology like gadgets and apps to track exercise and calorie intake. Now companies supplying goods like probiotic yogurt, advertised as being healthier for the gut, and omega-3 biscuits, thought to improve brain and heart function, have seen demand rise sharply.

Apr 15, 2015

AstraZeneca science is on the move, one year on from Pfizer bid

LONDON (Reuters) – Having seen off a hostile $118 billion bid launched a year ago by U.S. rival Pfizer, Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca is on the move — quite literally.

As of last month, a four-days-a-week service set up by the drugmaker with Sun Air is connecting staff in its new Cambridge science and operations hub with those in Gothenburg, the group’s other major European center.

Apr 10, 2015

Venture capitalists ride biotech wave one drug at a time

LONDON (Reuters) – How many people does it take to run a successful biotech company? Just two, judging by the sale of XO1, a one-drug British firm snapped up last month by Johnson & Johnson.

Ten years on from pioneering an ultra-lean business model focused on investing in “virtual” companies with a single experimental medicine, XO1′s backer Index Ventures is chalking up some notable wins.

Apr 10, 2015

Angus/Venture capitalists ride biotech wave one drug at a time

LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) – How many people does it take to
run a successful biotech company? Just two, judging by the sale
of XO1, a one-drug British firm snapped up last month by Johnson
& Johnson.

Ten years on from pioneering an ultra-lean business model
focused on investing in “virtual” companies with a single
experimental medicine, XO1′s backer Index Ventures is chalking
up some notable wins.

Apr 2, 2015

Arthur Miller classic takes center-stage in Shakespeare’s hometown

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England (Reuters) – Arthur Miller’s quintessentially American work “Death of a Salesman” has been parachuted into Shakespeare’s hometown and given the unique honor of playing on the Bard’s birthday this year.

The portrait of a broken American dream is lauded as “the greatest American play of the 20th century” by director Gregory Doran, whose new production in Stratford-upon-Avon has subtle Shakespearean overtones.

Apr 1, 2015

European project for flexible drug approvals moves up a gear

LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) – A European project to streamline
drug approvals moves up a gear next week when regulators sit
down with the first company to have an experimental product
assessed under a new flexible pilot scheme.

Patients are impatient to access novel treatments and
regulators on both sides of Atlantic are trying to evaluate
promising medicines more swiftly than in the past.

Mar 31, 2015

New cancer drugs ‘vastly overestimated’, says contrarian analyst

LONDON (Reuters) – A hot new class of drugs designed to help the body’s own immune system fend off cancer by blocking a protein called PD-1 is going to be big – but not nearly as big as investors think, according to a new analysis.

Former top Nomura analyst Amit Roy, who now runs independent research firm Foveal, thinks sales of drugs inhibiting Programmed Death receptor (PD-1), or a related target PD-L1, will sell much less than expected.

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.

    • 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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