Senior Correspondent, London
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Mar 12, 2015

Pfizer hunts for new vaccines to protect young and old

LONDON (Reuters) – Pfizer is seeking new vaccine opportunities across the age spectrum as it broadens its portfolio by delivering shots into the arms of adolescents and the elderly, as well as infants.

Previously reliant on just one vaccine, the blockbuster Prevnar, the U.S. drugmaker is now expanding its product line-up through both in-house development and by shopping for assets in a consolidating sector.

Mar 11, 2015

Can ultrasound fight Alzheimer’s? Mice study hints at new weapon

LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) – Scientists believe they may
have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease
– not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound.

While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers
said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing
tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains
and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as
navigating a maze.

Mar 6, 2015

GSK sacks 110 China staff in wake of drug bribery case: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which was fined 3 billion yuan ($479 million) in China last year for bribery, is dismissing 110 employees in the country for misconduct, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The British company confirmed it had taken disciplinary action against staff whose conduct contravened its values and code of conduct but declined to specify the number involved. The misconduct took place before mid-2013, GSK added in a statement.

Mar 6, 2015

Novartis wins approval for first U.S. biosimilar drug

By Deena Beasley and Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators on Friday gave a green light to sales of the country’s first copied version of a biotechnology drug, or “biosimilar,” with approval of Novartis’ white blood cell-boosting Zarxio.

The drug contains the same active ingredient as Neupogen, or filgrastim, which logged 2014 worldwide sales of $1.2 billion for manufacturer Amgen.

Mar 6, 2015

Eli Lilly loses Alimta drug patent case in Germany to Actavis

By Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – Eli Lilly has lost a patent case in
Germany over its blockbuster Alimta lung cancer drug to generic
producer Actavis, hitting the U.S. drugmaker’s future
sales hopes for the medicine.

Alimta generated worldwide sales of $2.79 billion for Lilly
last year, making the medicine its biggest-selling product.

Mar 6, 2015

Copy me: Europe shows U.S. a path to cheaper biotech drugs

LONDON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A revolution is brewing in healthcare with lower-cost copies of complex biotech drugs finally set to reach the United States, nine years after so-called biosimilars were launched in Europe.

The potential for copycats to take business from original biotech brands is grabbing investors’ attention and was a key factor in Pfizer’s recent move to buy injectable drugmaker Hospira for about $15 billion.

Mar 6, 2015

Insight – Copy me: Europe shows U.S. a path to cheaper biotech drugs

LONDON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A revolution is brewing in healthcare with lower-cost copies of complex biotech drugs finally set to reach the United States, nine years after so-called biosimilars were launched in Europe.

The potential for copycats to take business from original biotech brands is grabbing investors’ attention and was a key factor in Pfizer’s recent move to buy injectable drugmaker Hospira for about $15 billion.

Mar 5, 2015

Biotech buys get pharma M&A off to flying start in 2015

LONDON (Reuters) – AbbVie’s $21 billion deal to buy Pharmacyclics shows big pharma’s hunger for new drugs at a time when research at smaller biotechnology companies is driving some of the most promising advances in medicine.

Competition for tomorrow’s blockbuster drugs is now intense, inflating the cost of deals and pushing pharmaceuticals to center stage in overall mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Mar 5, 2015

AbbVie boosts cancer drug pipeline with $21 bln Pharmacyclics deal

March 5 (Reuters) – AbbVie Inc is to buy
Pharmacyclics Inc for about $21 billion, giving it
access to what is expected to be one of the world’s top-selling
cancer drugs and expanding its reach in the profitable oncology
field.

The deal — the latest example of a big drugmaker swooping
on a biotech firm to refill its medicine pipeline — confounds
expectations that Pharmacyclics would sell out to Johnson &
Johnson.

Mar 4, 2015

Bristol’s $1 bln Bavarian deal may signal cancer vaccine revival

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – The idea of using vaccines to
fight cancer has received a shot in the arm from a $1 billion
deal between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Bavarian Nordic
.

The agreement gives the U.S. drugmaker an exclusive option
to the Danish biotech firm’s therapeutic prostate cancer vaccine
Prostvac and signals that such shots may have a bright future
when combined with so-called checkpoint inhibitor drugs.

    • 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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