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Apr 15, 2013

Thermo Fisher to buy Life Tech for $13.6 billion

April 15 (Reuters) – Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc on
Monday agreed to buy Life Technologies Corp for $13.6
billion in a deal that would make it one of the top companies in
the hot field of genetic testing.

The pact values Life Tech at $76 per share, a 12 percent
premium, and is one of the year’s biggest corporate takeovers.

Apr 9, 2013

Roche immune therapy cancer drug shows promise in early study

April 9 (Reuters) – An experimental drug that spurs the
immune system to fight cancer appeared to be safe and
demonstrated anti-tumor activity against a variety of cancers in
a small early stage study, researchers said on Tuesday.

The drug, called MPDL320A, was discovered and is being
developed by Roche’s Genentech unit. The Phase 1 trial
of the drug in 30 patients with advanced cancer was designed as
a dose escalation study to test for toxicity at higher doses.

Mar 11, 2013

Edwards heart valve system good as surgery at three years: trial

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Patients who received the original version of Edwards Lifesciences Corp’s non-invasive heart valve replacement system had a nearly identical death rate after three years as those who had open-heart surgery, with no increased risk of stroke, according to results from a clinical trial.

The data, presented on Monday at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting in San Francisco, should provide doctors with some reassurance about the durability of the Edwards transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), known as Sapien.

Mar 11, 2013

Edwards heart valve system good as surgery at 3 years-trial

SAN FRANCISCO, March 11 (Reuters) – Patients who received
the original version of Edwards Lifesciences Corp’s
non-invasive heart valve replacement system had a nearly
identical death rate after three years as those who had
open-heart surgery, with no increased risk of stroke, according
to results from a clinical trial.

The data, presented on Monday at the American College of
Cardiology scientific meeting in San Francisco, should provide
doctors with some reassurance about the durability of the
Edwards transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), known as
Sapien.

Mar 10, 2013

Gilead drug reduces chest pain episodes in diabetics: study

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc’s angina drug Ranexa reduced incidents of chest pain in patients with diabetes, and the effect appeared to be more pronounced in those with poor blood sugar control, according to data from a clinical trial.

Ranexa, known chemically as ranolazine, is already approved to treat angina – a type of chest pain associated with heart disease. This was the first trial to test it specifically in diabetics, who tend to have more complications and can be more difficult to treat that other heart patients.

Mar 10, 2013

Experimental Roche drug shows promise in reducing heart damage

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A single dose of an experimental Roche biotech drug that blocks inflammation reduced damage to the heart during artery clearing angioplasty procedures, according to data from a midstage trial presented on Sunday.

The drug, inclacumab, was significantly better than a placebo in decreasing levels of molecular markers, or enzymes, that are used to diagnose heart attacks and heart damage in patients also taking standard drugs, such as cholesterol lowering statins, researchers said.

Mar 10, 2013

Medicines Co’s Cangrelor clearly tops Plavix in pivotal trial

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The Medicines Co’s experimental intravenous blood clot preventer Cangrelor, which is intended for use during angioplasty procedures, solidly outperformed commonly used Plavix in a pivotal late stage study, likely resurrecting the drug’s prospects.

The aptly named Champion-Phoenix trial, with 11,000 patients undergoing an angioplasty and stenting procedure, was meant to save the potentially important new medicine from the ashes of a pair of prior Phase III studies in which it failed to achieve the primary goal.

Mar 10, 2013

Redesigned Edwards heart valve system shows improvement in study

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A smaller, redesigned version of Edwards Lifesciences’ non-invasive heart valve replacement system called Sapien XT performed well and led to fewer complications than the original Sapien, according to data from a clinical trial presented on Sunday.

Both versions, known as transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR), allow surgeons to replace diseased heart valves by threading the new valve into place through an artery via a catheter, sparing patient’s chest cracking, open heart surgery.

Mar 9, 2013

Serious side effects seen with failed Merck niacin drug

SAN FRANCISCO, March 9 (Reuters) – Unexpected serious side
effects arose in a huge study of a Merck & Co
long-acting niacin drug aimed at raising good HDL cholesterol,
according to data released on Saturday, possibly adding another
nail to the coffin of niacin therapy for heart patients.

Merck has already given up on the drug that combines
extended-release niacin with an experimental agent called
laropiprant, designed to prevent the uncomfortable facial
flushing associated with niacin.

Mar 9, 2013

Serious side effects seen with failed Merck niacin drug: study

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Unexpected serious side effects arose in a huge study of a Merck & Co long-acting niacin drug aimed at raising good HDL cholesterol, according to data released on Saturday, possibly adding a final nail to the coffin of niacin therapy for heart patients.

Merck has already given up on the drug that combines extended-release niacin with an experimental agent called laropiprant, designed to prevent the uncomfortable facial flushing associated with niacin.

    • 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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