NEW YORK (Reuters) – Little known biotechnology company Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc has quietly built a large pipeline of experimental cancer treatments that it aims to deliver at a fraction of the cost spent by larger rivals.
That could translate into lower-cost treatments for large unmet needs, such as pancreatic cancer, at precisely the time when pressure is mounting to reduce runaway healthcare spending.
By Bill Berkrot
(Reuters) – An experimental leukemia treatment that Roche Holding AG hopes will improve upon its best-selling cancer drug Rituxan delayed disease progression twice as long as chemotherapy, according to preliminary trial data released on Wednesday.
Switzerland-based Roche aims to fend off cheaper competition for Rituxan, which loses patent protection in Europe later this year, threatening a product with nearly $7 billion in annual sales.
May 15 (Reuters) – An experimental Roche Holding AG
drug that helps the immune system attack tumors was well
tolerated and demonstrated an impressive effect against a
variety of cancers, according to preliminary trial results
released on Wednesday.
While clinical testing of the drug is still in its early
phases, the Roche treatment is considered one of the most
promising in a new class of immunotherapies being developed by
By Bill Berkrot
(Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Actavis Inc, formerly Watson Pharmaceuticals, said on Friday that it was in early stage discussions to buy specialty pharmaceutical company Warner Chilcott Plc.
Actavis said no agreement had been reached and that it would have no further comment on the talks.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Europe must start paying more for new medicines and take some of the cost burden of supporting pharmaceutical drug development off the United States, Novo Nordisk’s (NOVOb.CO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Lars Sorensen said.
“Europe in general has gotten away with completely underpaying for innovation,” Sorensen told the Reuters Health Summit on Tuesday.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.TA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has yet to make any serious inroads into China, but its chief executive believes the company is better suited than its rival drugmakers to serve the world’s fastest growing health care market.
Teva is late to the party in China as most major drugmakers over the past several years have poured resources into establishing a presence in a country that IMS Health has forecast will become the world’s second biggest healthcare market, behind the United States, by 2016. Big investors in the country include Pfizer (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Novartis (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).
(Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc on Thursday said almost all patients taking a fixed-dose combination of two of its experimental hepatitis C drugs appeared to have eliminated the liver virus after either eight weeks or 12 weeks of treatment in a small mid-stage study.
The data should strengthen the widely held perception that Gilead is leading the race among many companies to bring to market a highly curative, all-oral regimen with shorter treatment durations for the serious liver disease. Gilead shares rose 5 percent after the data was released.
By Bill Berkrot
(Reuters) – Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday increased by $20 million the 2013 forecast for sales of its cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco, and said it anticipates seeking approval in 2014 of a CF combination therapy that has become a focus for investors.
The new cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco had sales of $61.8 million, up from $58.5 million in the previous quarter. The company now expects 2013 Kalydeco sales of $300 million to $340 million, up from its prior view of $280 million to $320 million.
April 29 (Reuters) – Express Scripts Holding Co on
Monday reported higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings,
helped by greater use of more profitable generic medicines, and
the pharmacy benefit manager raised its full-year forecast.
Express said it expects improvements in gross profit over the
remainder of the year and now sees full-year adjusted earnings
of $4.23 to $4.33 per share, up from its prior outlook of $4.20
to $4.30 per share. Its shares rose 1.5 percent in after-hours
April 25 (Reuters) – PerkinElmer Inc on Thursday
reported lower-than-expected first-quarter profit and decreased
its full-year forecast as difficult economic conditions and a
stronger dollar hurt sales in Europe and Japan.
Investors used to PerkinElmer beating earnings expectations
and incrementally raising forecasts over the course of the year
punished the stock, sending it down 13 percent.