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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

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.

Oct 3, 2013

Hospital shares up on signs of big demand for Obamacare insurance

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Shares of hospital operators rose on Thursday on a strong show of interest in newly launched insurance plans under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, raising hopes that millions more Americans would become paying customers next year.

One of the biggest issues traditionally pressuring the profits of hospital chains has been the debt incurred by treating vast numbers of uninsured patients using emergency rooms for primary care and then being unable to pay their bills.

Sep 26, 2013

Lilly drug fails in breast cancer trial, shares fall

Sept 26 (Reuters) – Eli Lilly and Co said it will
not seek a breast cancer approval for one of its most closely
watched experimental drugs after it failed to significantly
delay disease progression and showed no survival benefit in a
late-stage trial.

The drug, ramucirumab, has been successful in gastric cancer
trials and is also being tested for colon, liver and lung
cancers, with key late stage data on those three expected next
year. But Lilly shares fell more than 3 percent after it
released the disappointing breast cancer results.

Sep 24, 2013

Foundation to provide open access to blood cancer research data

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Multiple myeloma research advocates on Tuesday will begin providing open Internet access to genetic and research data on hundreds of patients in hopes of speeding the development of new treatments for the deadly blood cancer.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s (MMRF) Researcher Gateway, a $40 million program funded by the foundation and drug company partners, will give researchers around the world access to information, such as specific patient gene mutations associated with the disease and how patients respond to treatment.

Aug 26, 2013

Bradway’s patient dealmaking brings Onyx to Amgen

New YORK (Reuters) – Investment banker turned biotech chief executive, Robert Bradway, staked a claim as a savvy dealmaker with Amgen Inc’s successful acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc for more than $10 billion.

In doing so, he managed to avoid falling into traps that an inexperienced CEO might make with the stakes so high, while potentially quieting some criticism over the choice of a former banker to lead the world’s largest biotechnology company.

Aug 8, 2013

Onyx says multiple parties engaged in takeover talks

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Thursday that its process of seeking a buyer for the company is “ongoing with multiple parties engaged.”

Onyx had previously rejected an unsolicited takeover offer from Amgen Inc as being too low.

Aug 6, 2013

Sales of Regeneron’s Eylea eye drug slow, shares drop

By Esha Dey and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – The explosive growth in the sales of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Eylea eye drug slowed in the second quarter as existing patients moved to less-frequent dosing.

Shares of Regeneron fell 6.1 percent on Tuesday even though the company said it plans to file for wider use of the injectable drug later this year, following positive new trial data.

Aug 1, 2013

PerkinElmer lower profit exceeds Street expectations

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – PerkinElmer Inc (PKI.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday reported lower second-quarter earnings that exceeded tempered expectations after Wall Street had been caught off guard by a disappointing first quarter.

The maker of scientific instruments, medical diagnostic equipment and environmental safety monitoring products raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast range by 3 cents, and said it was on track to meet its own expectations. But the new forecast remained below the company’s initial 2013 outlook.

Jul 30, 2013

Amgen profit tops Wall Street view; rebounds from first quarter

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Amgen Inc (AMGN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which is attempting to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc (ONXX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to add to its cancer drug offerings, on Tuesday reported higher-than-expected second- quarter profit as sales of many of its drugs rebounded from a disappointing first quarter.

Most of Amgen’s higher profile products had sales that exceeded Wall Street estimates, and the world’s largest biotechnology company raised its full-year earnings forecast.

    • 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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