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Jun 20, 2014

Exclusive: A four-week hep C cure? Bristol to test drugs with Gilead’s Sovaldi

NEW YORK (Reuters) – In the race to find a faster cure for hepatitis C, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said it will test its experimental antiviral drug combination with Gilead Sciences Inc’s blockbuster drug Sovaldi, hoping to cut treatment time to four weeks.

Bristol-Myers disclosed plans for the exploratory 30-patient trial testing its three-drug combination with Sovaldi in an interview with Reuters. Eric Hughes, the leader of Bristol’s global hepatitis program, said the details were due to be posted on the website next week.

Jun 16, 2014

Medtronic’s Covidien deal raises bar for rivals to merge

By Susan Kelly and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Medtronic Inc’s (MDT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) $43 billion deal for Dublin-based Covidien Plc (COV.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) should accelerate already intense efforts by medical device rivals to seek merger partners, industry analysts and bankers said on Monday.

Medtronic announced the transaction on Sunday, saying it would re-base the combined company in Ireland, where it can take advantage of lower corporate tax rates and easier access to cash generated overseas.

Jun 14, 2014

Novo Nordisk diabetes drug appears effective for weight loss -study

June 14 (Reuters) – Novo Nordisk’s big-selling
diabetes drug Victoza appears to be an effective weight loss
therapy, data from a late-stage clinical trial presented on
Saturday demonstrated.

In the 56-week study of 846 overweight or obese adults with
type 2 diabetes, a daily injection of 3 milligrams of Victoza
led to significantly greater weight loss than did a placebo.

Jun 14, 2014

Novo Nordisk combination diabetes drug effective after 1 yr-study

June 14 (Reuters) – A Novo Nordisk drug combining
its long-acting insulin degludec with its type 2 diabetes
treatment Victoza maintained superior blood sugar reduction
after one year than either medicine separately, according to
data from a late stage trial presented on Saturday.

The combination therapy also helped more patients achieve
recommended blood sugar levels and appeared to reduce side
effects of each of the drugs when taken alone.

Jun 11, 2014

Amgen psoriatic arthritis drug maintains efficacy after 1 yr -study

June 11 (Reuters) – A drug being developed by Amgen Inc
for psoriatic arthritis demonstrated sustained
effectiveness after a year of treatment with no new safety
concerns, according to data from a midstage trial.

Amgen and partner AstraZeneca Plc had previously
presented 12-week data from the 168-patient trial of the biotech
drug, brodalumab, showing it to be significantly more effective
than a placebo.

Jun 2, 2014

Bristol’s Yervoy, alone or in combo, improves melanoma results-studies

June 2 (Reuters) – New data on Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s
melanoma drug Yervoy, including fresh results from an
effort to combine it with another promising cancer
immunotherapy, suggest it can improve treatment for patients
with both advanced and slightly earlier stage disease, according
to findings released on Monday.

Yervoy, which takes natural brakes off the immune system to
help it more effectively attack cancer, is approved to treat
metastatic, or stage 4, melanoma – the deadliest form of skin
cancer. Cowen and Co expects the drug to capture annual sales of
$1.95 billion by 2020, as it is approved in new indications and
combinations with other treatments.

May 31, 2014

Eli Lilly drug prolongs survival in large lung cancer trial

May 31 (Reuters) – Eli Lilly and Co’s cancer drug
ramucirumab modestly extended survival in a large, late-stage
study of patients with advanced, nonsmall cell lung cancer who
had relapsed following initial treatment, according to data
presented on Saturday.

In the 1,253-patient trial, those who received ramucirumab
and the common chemotherapy drug docetaxel on average lived for
10.5 months compared with 9.1 months for those who got only the

May 27, 2014

Pfizer walks away from $118 billion AstraZeneca takeover fight

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Pfizer abandoned its attempt to buy AstraZeneca for nearly 70 billion pounds ($118 billion) on Monday as a deadline approached without a last-minute change of heart by the British drugmaker.

The decision ends a month-long public fight between two of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies that sparked political concerns on both sides of Atlantic over jobs and corporate tax maneuvers.

May 26, 2014

Pfizer walks away from $118 bln AstraZeneca takeover attempt

LONDON/NEW YORK, May 26 (Reuters) – Pfizer said on
Monday it had abandoned its current attempt to buy AstraZeneca
for nearly 70 billion pounds ($118 billion) as a
deadline approached without a last-minute change of heart by the
British drugmaker.

Pfizer had until 5.00 pm (1600 GMT) on May 26 to make a firm
offer or walk away, under UK takeover rules. Its decision to
quit the stage, at least for now, had been widely expected after
AstraZeneca refused its final offer of 55 pounds a share.

May 22, 2014

J&J sees device growth via new products, emerging markets

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday it would file for approvals of more than 30 major products by the end of 2016 as it looks to restore growth to a medical device division that has been overshadowed by its drugs business.

The diversified healthcare company said it was positioned for growth through new products and would place significant focus on fast-growing emerging markets, particularly China and Russia.

    • 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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