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Jan 14, 2014

Regeneron to report $400 mln 4th quarter Eylea sales-CEO

Jan 14 (Reuters) – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc
will report about $400 million in U.S. sales of its high-profile
eye drug Eylea for the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing the
total for the year to about $1.4 billion with lots of room for
future sales growth, the U.S. biotech company’s chief executive
said on Tuesday.

Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer called the Eylea franchise far
from mature and said sales of the drug have “plenty of room for
growth” in both the United States and Europe through approvals
for additional uses and other initiatives.

Jan 13, 2014

Celgene raises forecasts on cancer drug sales strength

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – U.S. biotech company Celgene Corp (CELG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) raised sales and profit forecasts for 2015 and 2017 on Monday, saying its improved long-term outlook was based on current momentum for its blood cancer medicines.

The relatively conservative increases, however, and a 2014 forecast that was slightly lower than current Wall Street estimates, were met with dampened shareholder enthusiasm and Celgene shares fell more than 3 percent.

Jan 9, 2014

Roche’s Tamiflu for children temporarily in short supply in U.S.

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – In what is shaping up to be a tough and widespread flu season in the United States, one of the leading medicines used to treat children with the sometimes deadly virus is in short supply.

“There has been strong and early demand for Tamiflu Oral Suspension (OS) and we are experiencing a temporary delay in the packaging of Tamiflu OS,” said Tara Iannuccillo, a spokeswoman for Roche Holding AG’s Genentech unit which manufactures the drug and uses distributors to supply retail pharmacies with the product.

Jan 8, 2014

FDA approves AstraZeneca type 2 diabetes drug

Jan 8 (Reuters) – U.S. health regulators on Wednesday
approved an AstraZeneca drug from a new class of
medicines to treat type 2 diabetes after previously rejecting it
over safety concerns.

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval had been
expected after an outside advisory panel of medical experts
voted by a wide margin in December to recommend its approval,
saying the benefits of the drug, dapagliflozin, outweighed its
safety risks. It will be sold in the United States under the
brand name Farxiga.

Jan 7, 2014

J&J, Pharmacyclics leukemia drug improves survival in study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – An independent committee recommended a late stage trial of a cancer drug developed by Pharmacyclics Inc and Johnson & Johnson be stopped early as it became clear it helped patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) live longer, paving the way for additional approval of the medicine.

The announcement of the study’s early success by Pharmacyclics on Tuesday sent its shares soaring 20 percent higher and took J&J shares up by nearly 2 percent.

Dec 19, 2013

Vertex cystic fibrosis drug misses trial goal, helps some

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Kalydeco cystic fibrosis drug failed to meet the main goal of a late-stage study aimed at expanding its use into patients with a specific gene mutation associated with the rare, life-threatening lung disease, the company said on Thursday.

Overall, Kalydeco (ivacaftor) did not significantly improve lung function in CF patients ages 6 and older with the R117H gene mutation. However, among those aged 18 and older in the 69-patient study with more advanced lung disease, Kalydeco led to a statistically significant improvement in lung function and other secondary measures, the company said.

Dec 18, 2013

Stellar hepatitis C data puts Gilead farther ahead of pack

By Ransdell Pierson and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc released impressive late-stage data for its once-daily combination pill to treat hepatitis C, advancing its lead in the race to develop new, all-oral treatments for the liver disease, and pushed up its timeline for seeking U.S. approval.

Gilead on Wednesday unveiled initial results from three Phase III studies that demonstrated cure rates well in excess of 90 percent with as little as 8 weeks of treatment for some patients.

Dec 13, 2013

AbbVie drug shows promise against difficult type of breast cancer

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Women with an especially deadly type of breast cancer who received a treatment regimen containing an experimental AbbVie Inc drug prior to surgery are likely to have a significantly better response than those who get a standard chemotherapy regimen, according to data from a clinical trial.

Patients with so-called triple negative breast cancer, who tend to be younger and have a very poor prognosis, appeared to have double the response rate to the regimen containing AbbVie’s veliparib in a new type of study that exploits advances in molecular understanding of the disease, researchers found.

Dec 10, 2013

CVS, Cardinal Health form U.S. generic drug venture

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Pharmacy chain CVS Caremark Corp and pharmaceutical distributor Cardinal Health Inc on Tuesday announced a 10-year agreement to form the largest generic drug sourcing operation in the United States, the world’s biggest generic drug market.

The 50-50 joint venture, which combines the generic drug purchasing power of two of the largest companies in the market for the cheaper medicines, will be operational as soon as July 1, 2014. Under the agreement, Cardinal will pay CVS $25 million on a quarterly basis for the duration of the contract, with an estimated after-tax value to CVS of $435 million.

Dec 10, 2013

AbbVie oral hep C drugs cure 96 pct in late stage trial

Dec 10 (Reuters) – AbbVie Inc’s all-oral hepatitis
C therapy cured 96 percent of difficult-to-treat patients in a
late-stage clinical trial after 12 weeks, keeping the company
well placed in a highly competitive race to deliver new
treatments for the serious liver disease.

The study of 394 patients with the most common Genotype 1
version of the virus tested the AbbVie regimen in people who had
failed to be cured by the older standard treatments of
pegylated interferon and ribavirin.

    • 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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