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Jul 16, 2014

St. Jude not keen to join inversion deal craze

July 16 (Reuters) – Heart device maker St. Jude Medical Inc
said it has no plans to jump on the consolidation
bandwagon that has swept the healthcare sector in recent months
and is not seeking the type of “inversion” deal increasingly
popular among U.S. companies seeking to lower taxes by re-basing
abroad.

In the most recent such deal in the medical device sector,
Medtronic Inc last month agreed to buy Covidien
for $43 billion. The move will allow Medtronic to re-domicile to
Ireland to take advantage of low corporate tax rates and to
access cash overseas without having to pay high repatriation
costs.

Jul 1, 2014

Sanofi raises stake in Regeneron; shares jump

July 1 (Reuters) – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc
shares jumped nearly 7 percent Tuesday after Sanofi SA
said it would raise its stake in the U.S. biotechnology company,
and as a competitive threat to Regeneron’s top drug appeared to
diminish.

French drugmaker Sanofi, in a U.S. regulatory filing, said
it would boost its Regeneron holdings to up to 22.5 percent by
July 29, under an agreement between the companies allowing
Sanofi to own up to 30 percent of Regeneron.

Jun 30, 2014

US FDA delays Allergan migraine drug approval, OKs new eye drug use

June 30 (Reuters) – Allergan Inc said on Monday that
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would not approve its
acute migraine aerosol treatment until certain concerns are
addressed, but the agency approved a new use for its implantable
eye drug, Ozurdex.

The Botox maker, which is fighting a hostile takeover bid by
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, said
Semprana, formerly known as Levadex, had received a second
“complete response letter” from the FDA delaying its approval.
Allergan now expects the agency’s next action in the second
quarter of 2015.

Jun 24, 2014

Vertex cystic fibrosis combo succeeds in key late stage trials

June 24 (Reuters) – A combination of Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Inc’s cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco and its
experimental lumacaftor succeeded in improving lung function in
a pair of closely watched late stage clinical trials of patients
with the most common genetic mutation associated with the rare
lung disease.

In the two, 24-week studies of patients 12 years and older
with two copies of F508del genetic mutation, the combination
therapy led to mean absolute improvements in lung function of
between 2.6 and 4 percentage points, which was deemed to be
statistically significant, the company said on Tuesday.

Jun 20, 2014

Exclusive: A four-week hep C cure? Bristol to test drugs with Gilead’s Sovaldi

NEW YORK (Reuters) – In the race to find a faster cure for hepatitis C, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said it will test its experimental antiviral drug combination with Gilead Sciences Inc’s blockbuster drug Sovaldi, hoping to cut treatment time to four weeks.

Bristol-Myers disclosed plans for the exploratory 30-patient trial testing its three-drug combination with Sovaldi in an interview with Reuters. Eric Hughes, the leader of Bristol’s global hepatitis program, said the details were due to be posted on the clinicaltrials.gov website next week.

Jun 16, 2014

Medtronic’s Covidien deal raises bar for rivals to merge

By Susan Kelly and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Medtronic Inc’s (MDT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) $43 billion deal for Dublin-based Covidien Plc (COV.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) should accelerate already intense efforts by medical device rivals to seek merger partners, industry analysts and bankers said on Monday.

Medtronic announced the transaction on Sunday, saying it would re-base the combined company in Ireland, where it can take advantage of lower corporate tax rates and easier access to cash generated overseas.

Jun 14, 2014

Novo Nordisk diabetes drug appears effective for weight loss -study

June 14 (Reuters) – Novo Nordisk’s big-selling
diabetes drug Victoza appears to be an effective weight loss
therapy, data from a late-stage clinical trial presented on
Saturday demonstrated.

In the 56-week study of 846 overweight or obese adults with
type 2 diabetes, a daily injection of 3 milligrams of Victoza
led to significantly greater weight loss than did a placebo.

Jun 14, 2014

Novo Nordisk combination diabetes drug effective after 1 yr-study

June 14 (Reuters) – A Novo Nordisk drug combining
its long-acting insulin degludec with its type 2 diabetes
treatment Victoza maintained superior blood sugar reduction
after one year than either medicine separately, according to
data from a late stage trial presented on Saturday.

The combination therapy also helped more patients achieve
recommended blood sugar levels and appeared to reduce side
effects of each of the drugs when taken alone.

Jun 11, 2014

Amgen psoriatic arthritis drug maintains efficacy after 1 yr -study

June 11 (Reuters) – A drug being developed by Amgen Inc
for psoriatic arthritis demonstrated sustained
effectiveness after a year of treatment with no new safety
concerns, according to data from a midstage trial.

Amgen and partner AstraZeneca Plc had previously
presented 12-week data from the 168-patient trial of the biotech
drug, brodalumab, showing it to be significantly more effective
than a placebo.

Jun 2, 2014

Bristol’s Yervoy, alone or in combo, improves melanoma results-studies

June 2 (Reuters) – New data on Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s
melanoma drug Yervoy, including fresh results from an
effort to combine it with another promising cancer
immunotherapy, suggest it can improve treatment for patients
with both advanced and slightly earlier stage disease, according
to findings released on Monday.

Yervoy, which takes natural brakes off the immune system to
help it more effectively attack cancer, is approved to treat
metastatic, or stage 4, melanoma – the deadliest form of skin
cancer. Cowen and Co expects the drug to capture annual sales of
$1.95 billion by 2020, as it is approved in new indications and
combinations with other treatments.

    • 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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