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Apr 15, 2015

U.S. FDA approves Amgen’s Corlanor heart failure drug

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – U.S. health regulators on Wednesday approved Amgen Inc’s Corlanor to treat patients with chronic heart failure, giving the world’s largest biotechnology company its first cardiovascular product.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Corlanor (ivabradine) on top of current standard of care beta blockers for patients whose symptoms of heart failure are stable and who have a normal heartbeat and a resting heart rate of at least 70 beats per minute.

Apr 14, 2015

U.S. prescription drug spending rose 13 percent in 2014: IMS report

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – U.S. spending on prescription medicines jumped 13 percent to $374 billion in 2014, the biggest percentage increase since 2001, as demand surged for expensive new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments, a report released on Tuesday showed.

Demand for newer cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments, price increases on branded medicines, particularly insulin products for diabetes, and the entry of few new generic versions of big-selling drugs also contributed to the double-digit spending rise in 2014, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc found.

Apr 14, 2015

U.S. prescription drug spending rose 13 pct in 2014-IMS report

April 14 (Reuters) – U.S. spending on prescription medicines
jumped 13 percent to $374 billion in 2014, the biggest
percentage increase since 2001, as demand surged for expensive
new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments, a report released on
Tuesday showed.

Demand for newer cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments,
price increases on branded medicines, particularly insulin
products for diabetes, and the entry of few new generic versions
of big-selling drugs also contributed to the double-digit
spending rise in 2014, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc
found.

Apr 8, 2015

Generic drugmaker Mylan offers 19 billion pounds for Perrigo

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Mylan NV (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Wednesday it has offered to buy Perrigo Co Plc (PRGO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for about $29 billion (19.43 billion pounds) in cash and stock in a move that would significantly beef up Mylan’s offerings of over-the-counter consumer products.

Mylan said it proposed to acquire the Ireland-based company for $205 per share, representing more than a 25 percent premium over Perrigo’s April 3 closing price, the last trading day prior to the Mylan proposal.

Apr 8, 2015

Generic drugmaker Mylan offers $29 billion for Perrigo

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Mylan NV (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday it has offered to buy Perrigo Co Plc (PRGO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for about $29 billion in cash and stock in a move that would significantly beef up Mylan’s offerings of over-the-counter consumer products.

Mylan said it proposed to acquire the Ireland-based company for $205 per share, representing more than a 25 percent premium over Perrigo’s April 3 closing price, the last trading day prior to the Mylan proposal.

Mar 26, 2015

Genfit to conduct large liver drug trial despite setback

By Bill Berkrot and Ransdell Pierson

(Reuters) – French drugmaker Genfit SA said on Thursday it will begin a late stage trial later this year of its lead treatment for a liver-destroying condition, saying it failed a midstage trial in part due to its inclusion of many patients with a mild form of the disease.

The company said had it excluded data from those patients with the mildest form of the disease known as NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) its drug, called GFT505, would have been deemed effective in reversing the condition. Company officials said Genfit would likely include only more seriously ill patients in its planned Phase III trials which will test 1,500 to 2,000 patients.

Mar 23, 2015

Exclusive: Biogen shortens name, expands ambitions in Alzheimer’s, ALS

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Biogen Idec Inc has seen its market value quadruple in three years to more than $100 billion on the back of its successful multiple sclerosis drugs. Now it has new ambitions in its sights.

The Massachusetts-based company, which made headlines last week when it announced better-than-expected clinical trial results for its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, aducanumab, said that it will drop Idec from its name as of Monday and adopt a new logo. The company merged with Idec Pharmaceuticals more than a decade ago.

Mar 20, 2015

Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug slows mental decline in early study

March 20 (Reuters) – An experimental drug from Biogen Idec
became the first Alzheimer’s treatment to significantly slow
cognitive decline and reduce what is believed to be
brain-destroying plaque in patients with early and mild forms of
the disease, according to a small study likely to reignite hopes
of a treatment.

Alzheimer’s is expected to strike as many as 75 million
people worldwide by 2030 without effective treatments, likely
costing billions of dollars year in care. A successful treatment
would pay some of the richest rewards in medicine.

Mar 17, 2015

Corrected – New market for liver disease spawns race for better testing

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As drugmakers develop new medicines to battle a liver disease epidemic, they have created an urgent need for better diagnostics to select patients for treatment and assess their drugs’ effectiveness.

About 30 percent of people in the U.S. now suffer from fatty liver diseases, such as NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), fuelled by obesity, diabetes and over-indulgent lifestyles, according to the American Liver Foundation. Without treatment, sufferers can develop advanced damage, including the scarring known as fibrosis; cirrhosis, which destroys liver function; and even cancer.

Mar 15, 2015

Low mortality, stroke seen with newest Edwards TAVR system -study

March 15 (Reuters) – Researchers on Sunday presented trial
data showing very low mortality and stroke rates using the third
generation version of Edwards Lifesciences Corp’s
non-invasive heart valve replacement system that could help
support its U.S. approval.

Data compiled 30 days after the procedure showed a 2.2
percent mortality rate in high risk patients and a 1.1 percent
death rate among intermediate risk patients whose diseased heart
valves were replaced using the Edwards Sapien 3 transcatheter
aortic valve replacement (TAVR) system.

    • 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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