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Oct 30, 2013

Medicines Co blood thinner cuts death risk in European ambulance trial

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Medicines Co’s blood thinner Angiomax, when administered en route to the hospital to patients suffering a serious heart attack, significantly reduced the risk of major bleeding and death compared with commonly used heparin, according to data from a large clinical trial.

However, those who got Angiomax in the 2,198-patient study had a far higher risk of suffering acute stent thrombosis, or blood clots forming within 24 hours at the site of devices used to prop open previously clogged arteries, researchers found.

Oct 28, 2013

Biogen’s new MS drug tops expectations; earnings rise

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Biogen Idec Inc on Monday reported $286 million in third-quarter sales of its high-profile new multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, providing fresh evidence that the medicine is off to an impressive launch and exceeding expectations.

The company also reported higher-than-expected third quarter earnings and raised its full year profit and revenue forecasts, and its shares rose more than 3 percent.

Oct 26, 2013

Celgene arthritis drug appears effective, safe after one year: study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Previously untreated patients experienced significant and lasting reductions in signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis when given Celgene Corp’s experimental oral drug, apremilast, according to data from a late stage clinical trial.

Patients taking either the 20 milligrams or 30 mg dose of apremilast twice a day had a statistically significant improvement in symptoms, such as painful, swollen joints, after 16 weeks of treatment compared with those who received a placebo, researchers said.

Oct 25, 2013

FDA approves Abbott device for leaking heart valve

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Abbott Laboratories’ MitraClip medical device, used to stop heart valve leakage in patients deemed unable to endure valve repair through open heart surgery, the company said on Friday.

The MitraClip treats mitral regurgitation, a condition in which the mitral valve of the heart does not close properly, causing blood leakage that can lead to stroke, heart attack or even death.

Oct 24, 2013

Celgene raises 2013 forecast as profit beats estimates

Oct 24 (Reuters) – Celgene Corp raised its earnings
forecast for 2013 on Thursday after reporting slightly
higher-than-expected quarterly profit on robust sales of its
flagship blood cancer drug Revlimid and solid growth in newer
cancer treatments.

Still, the company’s net profit fell amid higher expenses
for product launches and clinical trials.

Oct 22, 2013

U.S. drug giant Amgen raises full-year revenue outlook

Oct 22 (Reuters) – Amgen Inc, which this month
closed a nearly $10 billion acquisition of cancer drug maker
Onyx Pharmaceuticals, reported higher-than-expected,
third-quarter profit as results were helped by a large U.S.
government order for one of its white blood cell boosters.

Amgen raised its full-year revenue forecast and pushed up
the low end of its earnings forecast range by 5 cents. The
company now expects 2013 adjusted earnings of $7.35 to $7.45 per
share and sees revenue of $18.3 billion to $18.5 billion, up
from its previous view of $17.8 billion to $18.2 billion.

Oct 17, 2013

Intuitive Surgical profit falls as its robot sales drop

Oct 17 (Reuters) – Intuitive Surgical Inc on
Thursday reported lower third-quarter profit as sales of its
high-priced da Vinci surgical robots declined sharply, and it
said full-year revenue growth was likely to come in at the lower
half of its already slashed forecast range.

Intuitive shares fell nearly 8 percent after the results and
updated forecasts were announced. They had already fallen about
20 percent since July, when the company dramatically cut its
full year revenue growth forecast and warned that 2013 profit
would be below Wall Street estimates.

Oct 9, 2013

Feature: Pharma’s David and Goliath in race to produce insulin pill

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – An insulin pill, long desired by diabetes doctors and patients but abandoned as not physically viable, could be available by the end of this decade as a tiny Israeli company races a Danish pharmaceutical giant to be first with what could be a multibillion-dollar product.

In the pharma industry’s equivalent of a David and Goliath story, the companies at the forefront are Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO: Quote, Profile, Research), the world’s largest seller of insulin products with a market value of about $74 billion, and Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc (ORMP.O: Quote, Profile, Research), with a market value of only $50 million and headquartered in Jerusalem, where the biblical David held court.

Oct 9, 2013

Pharma’s David and Goliath in race to produce insulin pill

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – An insulin pill, long desired by diabetes doctors and patients but abandoned as not physically viable, could be available by the end of this decade as a tiny Israeli company races a Danish pharmaceutical giant to be first with what could be a multibillion-dollar product.

In the pharma industry’s equivalent of a David and Goliath story, the companies at the forefront are Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest seller of insulin products with a market value of about $74 billion, and Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc, with a market value of only $50 million and headquartered in Jerusalem, where the biblical David held court.

Oct 4, 2013

Biogen’s new MS drug maintains efficacy long term -study

Oct 4 (Reuters) – Biogen Idec’s hot-selling new
multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera remained effective for
patients taking the medicine for at least four years with no new
safety problems, according to interim data from a long-term
study.

Tecfidera, which analysts expect to eventually dominate the
MS market, had sales of $192 million in its first quarter on the
market – nearly triple average Wall Street expectations.

    • 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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