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May 5, 2015

Global cancer drug spending hits $100 billion in 2014: IMS Health

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Worldwide spending on cancer medicines reached $100 billion in 2014, an increase of 10.3 percent from 2013 and up from $75 billion five years earlier, according to IMS Health’s Global Oncology Trend Report released on Tuesday.

The $100 billion, which represents 10.8 percent of all drug spending globally and includes supportive care drugs to address things like nausea and anemia, was driven by expensive newer treatments in developed markets, IMS found.

Apr 30, 2015

PerkinElmer profit tops Street forecast; lowers full-year view

April 30 (Reuters) – Scientific instruments maker
PerkinElmer Inc on Thursday reported
higher-than-expected first-quarter profit despite the impact of
the strong dollar on overseas sales that led the U.S. company to
lower its full-year earnings forecast.

PerkinElmer, which also makes environmental testing and
medical diagnostic products, said the foreign exchange situation
would cut 2015 earnings by 23 cents per share instead of the 15
cents it had previously forecast.

Apr 30, 2015

Celgene sales highlight Revlimid dependence ahead of patent ruling

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Celgene Corp’s dependence on its big-selling multiple myeloma drug Revlimid raised investor concerns on Thursday as sales of its other medicines fell short of expectations.

Celgene shares fell 5 percent after the company reported quarterly results in which Revlimid shored up profits. Industry analysts see room for Revlimid to grow much further, with some estimating the drug will nearly double annual sales in coming years.

Apr 29, 2015

Perrigo rejects raised Mylan bid; Teva recommits to Mylan buy

April 29 (Reuters) – Perrigo Co Ltd on Wednesday
rejected a sweetened takeover offer from Mylan NV, while
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said it remains
committed to acquiring Mylan, in a high stakes battle of major
generic drugmakers.

Mylan’s pursuit of Perrigo, which also sells
over-the-counter consumer products, is widely seen as an attempt
to fend off Teva, the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs.

Apr 28, 2015

Strong Merck cancer drug sales upstage rival Bristol-Myers

April 28 (Reuters) – Investors betting that Bristol-Myers
Squibb will emerge as the leading player in a hot new
class of cancer drugs hit the pause button on Tuesday as a rival
therapy from Merck & Co showed much higher sales.

Bristol shares fell as much as 2.7 percent and closed off 1
percent after reporting sales of Opdivo, a therapy that helps
the immune system fight cancer, totaled $40 million in the first
quarter of the year. That was below Wall Street forecasts of $50

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.

    • 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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