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Sep 8, 2015

Independent group finds new cholesterol drugs far too costly

Sept 8 (Reuters) – An independent non-profit organization
that evaluates clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines
said announced prices for a just-approved class of potent
cholesterol lowering drugs were far too high, according to a
draft report released on Tuesday.

The Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Review
(ICER) said its analyses indicated “that the price that best
represents the overall benefits” the drugs may provide patients
would be between $3,615 and $4,811 a year, a 67 percent discount
off the list prices.

Sep 4, 2015

AstraZeneca wins U.S. approval for longer use of blood thinner

By Bill Berkrot and Ben Hirschler

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators have approved a new dose of AstraZeneca’s blood thinner Brilinta for longer-term use in patients with a history of heart attacks, boosting prospects for a drug the company thinks will eventually sell $3.5 billion a year.

The green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced late on Thursday, could theoretically more than double the number of people eligible for the medicine.

Sep 3, 2015

FDA approves longer-term use of AstraZeneca blood thinner

Sept 3 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca Plc on Thursday said
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new dose of its
blood thinner Brilinta intended for longer-term use in patients
with a history of heart attack or a condition known as acute
coronary syndrome.

The FDA approved Brilinta tablets at a new 60 milligram dose
that would be taken along with aspirin beyond a year after a
heart attack. The drug, which is used to prevent blood clots
that can cause heart attacks, strokes and deaths, had previously
been approved at a higher dose for use during the first year
after a heart attack.

Sep 2, 2015

Biogen patent survives challenge by hedge fund manager Bass

By Andrew Chung and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – In another setback for prominent hedge fund
manager Kyle Bass and his campaign to eliminate some drug
patents, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday
declined to hold a trial on the validity of a patent on Biogen
Inc’s multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera.

Last month the patent office also declined reviews requested
by Bass and his Coalition for Affordable Drugs on two Acorda
Therapeutics Inc patents. The Biogen
patent covered a dosing regimen for Tecfidera, which had $2.9
billion in sales last year.

Sep 1, 2015

Alexion gets EU approval for two drugs acquired in Synageva deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ten weeks after closing its $8.4 billion purchase of Synageva BioPharma Corp, Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday announced European approval for two drugs acquired through the deal, both enzyme-replacement therapies for ultra-rare, life threatening diseases.

European health regulators approved Kanuma for patients with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL-D), and Strensiq for patients with pediatric-onset hypophosphatasia (HPP). The treatments are awaiting U.S. approval decisions after receiving breakthrough therapy designations from the Food and Drug Administration.

Aug 25, 2015

Perrigo CEO expects shareholders to reject Mylan bid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Perrigo Co Plc’s (PRGO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) chief executive expressed confidence on Tuesday that his company’s shareholders will reject rival generic drugmaker Mylan NV’s hostile takeover attempt, and said the offer is not close to what it would take to get a deal done.

Mylan (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shareholders are set to vote on Friday on whether the company should move forward with the Perrigo bid, whose value has declined with the recent market sell-off. If more than half vote “yes,” Mylan plans to take its cash and stock offer directly to Perrigo shareholders.

Aug 7, 2015

Pfizer, Bristol revive cancer drugs that rev up immune system

NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Some of the most heralded new
cancer drugs fight the disease by removing brakes on the immune
system. Now a few leading drugmakers are paying attention to a
second, opposing force: medicines that accelerate the immune
system’s attack.

Pfizer Inc, which is lagging rivals in the lucrative
field of cancer immunotherapies, has been the first to report
early data of an “accelerator” treatment that targets a protein
called 4-1BB. It has at least five other Phase I studies
underway or in planning stages in solid tumor cancers and
lymphomas, which are blood cancers.

Aug 6, 2015

Mylan CEO says does not ‘have to’ buy Perrigo, has other options

NEW YORK, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Mylan Inc’s
chief executive said on Thursday that acquiring Perrigo
Co was not a must and that it had other options should
Perrigo successfully fend off Mylan’s $34 billion hostile

“There are alternatives to Perrigo. We believe Perrigo is
the right first step. We like Perrigo, but we don’t have to have
Perrigo,” CEO Heather Bresch said during a conference call with
Wall Street analysts to discuss quarterly results

Aug 5, 2015

CVS strips Viagra, other top drugs, from insurance coverage

Aug 5 (Reuters) – CVS Health Corp, which operates
the nation’s second-biggest pharmacy benefit manager, said that
next year it will exclude an additional 31 prescription
medicines from insurance coverage, including Viagra and widely
used treatments for diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

The 2016 excluded drugs, disclosed on Wednesday, also
include Vivus Inc’s weight loss treatment Qsymia, which
last week was excluded from the 2016 formulary of rival PBM
Express Scripts Holding Co. Vivus officials could not
immediately be reached for comment.

Aug 5, 2015

Perrigo CEO says no easy path for Mylan to acquire company

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Perrigo Co Plc (PRGO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Wednesday made a fresh case for rejecting a $34 billion offer from generic drugmaker Mylan NV (MYL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and said Mylan’s recent share price plunge reinforces Perrigo’s intention to remain independent.

Perrigo Chief Executive Joseph Papa, in his first comments on the unsolicited acquisition attempt since Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.TA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) dropped its pursuit of Mylan in favor of another deal, reiterated that the $205 per share offer substantially undervalues Perrigo.

    • 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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