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Sep 14, 2014

Abbott dissolving stent has lower angina rate vs metal stent: study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Abbott’s Absorb dissolving heart stent proved as safe and effective one year after being placed in a diseased artery as the company’s market-leading Xience drug coated metal stent with a significantly lower rate of chest pain, according to data presented at a medical meeting on Sunday.

Absorb works in the same way as traditional heart stents, propping open arteries that have been cleared of blockages to restore normal blood flow. But unlike metal stents that remain permanently in place, Absorb softens over several months and dissolves in two to three years, allowing the treated artery to regain more normal flexibility to expand and contract.

Aug 27, 2014

InterMune drug may offer big upside to Roche if aimed at liver

By Ransdell Pierson and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Roche Holding AG’s planned $8 billion purchase of InterMune Inc is centered around hopes for blockbuster sales of its lung drug, but the smaller company’s development pipeline may end up giving the Swiss drugmaker a far bigger bang for its buck.

Industry analysts have forecast annual sales of about $2 billion for the pulmonary fibrosis treatment, pirfenidone, once it gains U.S. approval, giving Roche a valuable addition to its respiratory franchise.

Aug 15, 2014

Biogen wins U.S. approval of long acting multiple sclerosis drug

NEW YORK, AUG 15 (Reuters) – U.S. health regulators on
Friday approved Biogen Idec Inc’s Plegridy, a
long-acting multiple sclerosis drug that the company expects
will eventually replace its older big-selling Avonex treatment.

The company received European approval on July 23 for the
drug that is intended to reduce relapses of the debilitating
disease and slow its progression.

Aug 4, 2014

Ebola therapy hopes shift to small California biotech

By Akane Otani and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Hopes of finding a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus shifted on Monday to a small California-based biotech company whose experimental drug has been used to treat two American missionary workers. The drug, developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, was used to treat two workers from the Samaritan’s Purse group who were exposed to the disease in Liberia, according to a U.S. government health official.

The official said the treatment was administered in Liberia.

One of the aid workers, Dr Kent Brantly, returned to the United States on Saturday for medical care, and his colleague Nancy Writebol is due to fly back to the country via medical aircraft on Tuesday.

Aug 4, 2014

Amgen blood cancer drug succeeds in late-stage study

Aug 4 (Reuters) – Amgen Inc said on Monday its
Kyprolis combined with standard treatment helped patients with
relapsed multiple myeloma live significantly longer before their
blood cancer worsened, compared with the standard therapy,
according to interim data from an eagerly-anticipated late stage
study.

Kyprolis, the centerpiece of Amgen’s nearly $10 billion
acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceuticals last year, has recorded
sales of $146 million in the first half of this year. Celgene
Corp’s rival multiple myeloma drug Pomalyst by
comparison had sales of $296.5 million over the first six
months.

Jul 31, 2014

PerkinElmer profit meets Wall Street view; not seeking inversion

July 31 (Reuters) – Scientific instruments maker PerkinElmer
reported second-quarter profit on Thursday that matched Wall
Street expectations and maintained its earnings forecast for the
full year as it prepares for the launch of new products.

Revenue for the quarter rose 3 percent to $556.2 million,
falling short of Wall Street estimates of $571.7 million.

Jul 29, 2014

Amgen to cut up to 2,900 jobs, prepares to introduce new drugs

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Amgen Inc (AMGN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday said it would cut up to 15 percent of its work force and close plants in a series of moves aimed at reallocating resources as it prepares to introduce new medicines it hopes will drive future growth.

High on the list of potential growth drivers is evolocumab, a cholesterol-lowering medicine from a new class of drugs that analysts see having multibillion-dollar sales potential. The company said it plans to file applications seeking U.S. and European approval this quarter.

Jul 24, 2014

Celgene profit rises but revised outlook disappoints

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Celgene Corp (CELG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a 25 percent rise in second-quarter profit, edging out Wall Street expectations, but a raised 2014 forecast failed to excite investors and its shares fell nearly 4 percent.

The U.S. biotechnology company said it now expects full-year adjusted earnings of $3.60 to $3.65 per share and revenue of $7.60 billion. It had previously forecast earnings of $3.50 to $3.60 per share and revenue of $7.50 billion.

Jul 23, 2014

Gilead hepatitis C drug Sovaldi racks up $3.5 billion in second quarter

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc said on Wednesday that its new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi had sales of $3.5 billion in the second quarter, exceeding Wall Street estimates and demonstrating that the furor over its price has not curtailed early use.

Analysts had been forecasting Sovaldi sales of about $2.6 to $2.9 billion for the quarter.

Jul 23, 2014

Gilead hepatitis C drug Sovaldi racks up $3.5 bln in quarter

July 23 (Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc said on
Wednesday that its new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi had sales of
$3.5 billion in the second quarter, exceeding Wall Street
estimates and demonstrating that the furor over its price has
not curtailed early use.

Analysts had been forecasting Sovaldi sales of about $2.6 to
$2.9 billion for the quarter.

    • 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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