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Apr 28, 2015

High-profile Bristol cancer drug disappoints, shares off

By Ransdell Pierson and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday reported first-quarter sales of its new cancer immunotherapy Opdivo that were about half of those for a rival medicine from Merck & Co (MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), and its shares fell 2 percent.

Opdivo, which is used to treat advanced melanoma and was more recently approved to treat a common form of lung cancer, had sales of $40 million in the quarter. Merck on Tuesday said it Keytruda, a similar new drug that helps the immune system to fight cancer, had first quarter sales of $83 million.

Apr 27, 2015

Merck’s diabetes drug Januvia succeeds in heart safety trial

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Merck and Co’s diabetes drug Januvia achieved the main goal of a long-awaited heart safety study, according to preliminary results released by the drugmaker on Monday, likely removing a cloud of uncertainty from its biggest product.

Merck shares rose nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement on Januvia, which had sales of about $4 billion in 2014, plus another $1.8 billion for the related combination product Janumet.

Apr 20, 2015

Bristol-Myers immunotherapy combo promising in melanoma: study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – A combination of two Bristol-Myers Squibb drugs that help the immune system fight melanoma led to significantly greater tumor shrinkage than treatment with one of the medicines, according to a midstage study presented on Monday.

The combination of Yervoy and the newer Opdivo also reduced the risk of disease progression by 60 percent compared with Yervoy alone through 11 months of follow-up in previously untreated patients with advanced melanoma, researchers found.

Apr 17, 2015

Mylan says merger with Teva would be bad fit

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Mylan NV moved quickly on Friday to pour cold water on published reports that Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries is considering a bid to acquire it.

Mylan last week announced a $29 billion offer to buy Perrigo Co Plc in a move that some analysts suggested was a tactic to help fend off an acquisition by larger rival Teva.

Apr 15, 2015

U.S. FDA approves Amgen’s Corlanor heart failure drug

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – U.S. health regulators on Wednesday approved Amgen Inc’s Corlanor to treat patients with chronic heart failure, giving the world’s largest biotechnology company its first cardiovascular product.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Corlanor (ivabradine) on top of current standard of care beta blockers for patients whose symptoms of heart failure are stable and who have a normal heartbeat and a resting heart rate of at least 70 beats per minute.

Apr 14, 2015

U.S. prescription drug spending rose 13 percent in 2014: IMS report

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – U.S. spending on prescription medicines jumped 13 percent to $374 billion in 2014, the biggest percentage increase since 2001, as demand surged for expensive new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments, a report released on Tuesday showed.

Demand for newer cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments, price increases on branded medicines, particularly insulin products for diabetes, and the entry of few new generic versions of big-selling drugs also contributed to the double-digit spending rise in 2014, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc found.

Apr 14, 2015

U.S. prescription drug spending rose 13 pct in 2014-IMS report

April 14 (Reuters) – U.S. spending on prescription medicines
jumped 13 percent to $374 billion in 2014, the biggest
percentage increase since 2001, as demand surged for expensive
new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments, a report released on
Tuesday showed.

Demand for newer cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments,
price increases on branded medicines, particularly insulin
products for diabetes, and the entry of few new generic versions
of big-selling drugs also contributed to the double-digit
spending rise in 2014, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc
found.

Apr 8, 2015

Generic drugmaker Mylan offers 19 billion pounds for Perrigo

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Mylan NV (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Wednesday it has offered to buy Perrigo Co Plc (PRGO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for about $29 billion (19.43 billion pounds) in cash and stock in a move that would significantly beef up Mylan’s offerings of over-the-counter consumer products.

Mylan said it proposed to acquire the Ireland-based company for $205 per share, representing more than a 25 percent premium over Perrigo’s April 3 closing price, the last trading day prior to the Mylan proposal.

Apr 8, 2015

Generic drugmaker Mylan offers $29 billion for Perrigo

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Mylan NV (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday it has offered to buy Perrigo Co Plc (PRGO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for about $29 billion in cash and stock in a move that would significantly beef up Mylan’s offerings of over-the-counter consumer products.

Mylan said it proposed to acquire the Ireland-based company for $205 per share, representing more than a 25 percent premium over Perrigo’s April 3 closing price, the last trading day prior to the Mylan proposal.

Mar 26, 2015

Genfit to conduct large liver drug trial despite setback

By Bill Berkrot and Ransdell Pierson

(Reuters) – French drugmaker Genfit SA said on Thursday it will begin a late stage trial later this year of its lead treatment for a liver-destroying condition, saying it failed a midstage trial in part due to its inclusion of many patients with a mild form of the disease.

The company said had it excluded data from those patients with the mildest form of the disease known as NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) its drug, called GFT505, would have been deemed effective in reversing the condition. Company officials said Genfit would likely include only more seriously ill patients in its planned Phase III trials which will test 1,500 to 2,000 patients.

    • About Bill

      "Based in New York, I primarily cover the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors as well as other publicly traded companies involved in health care. Previously covered a wide range of sports for Reuters."
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