News

Merck spokeswoman: Sales layoffs to hit PA-based field reps

The job-cutting ax has come out for Merck's U.S. field force, as part of a move to cut 600 positions by August. 

Merck KGaA chief: We'll pump up consumer health to double China sales

The chilly sales climate in China is just now warming up after last summer's wave of bribery accusations spooked doctors and sales reps. But as far as Merck KGaA is concerned, China is warm enough to deliver doubled revenues in the region. And that's exactly what the German drugmaker's shooting for.

Sources: Hospira in talks to pick up Danone nutrition biz and a tax cut

The string of pharma M&A deals fueled by the lure of cutting taxes continues and Midwest-based Hospira is now said to be about to take the plunge. Its vehicle of choice is the medical nutrition business of France's Danone, which sources say it is negotiating to buy in a deal that could run to $5 billion.

Reckitt Benckiser says it's a go for pharma unit spinoff worth some $4.9B

Reckitt Benckiser has been dropping plenty of hints that it would eventually spin off its pharmaceuticals unit. The time is here: The company says it will break off its pharma unit via with a separate U.K. listing, becoming the latest drugmaker to join pharma's slim-down craze.

Roche, Novartis protest moves in EU to pay for off-label Avastin

Last week, France made its move to knock the Novartis eye drug Lucentis out of drug coverage and move its cheaper cousin Avastin into its place. Now, Novartis and its Lucentis partner Roche are fighting back.

GlaxoSmithKline CEO: Open to spinning off consumer health biz

GlaxoSmithKline pulled off a $20 billion asset swap with Novartis in April, hiving off its oncology business and building up in consumer health and vaccines in one fell swoop. But that restructuring might not be enough, CEO Andrew Witty tells the Financial Times. A future spin-off may be in order.

Merck whacks 600 sales reps as part of 8,500 bloodletting

Merck is going through a complete makeover, buying and selling units at a rapid pace. And some of its employees are getting caught in its "out with the old and in with the new" philosophy. Now 600 sales reps have been told their services are no longer needed

As legislator rails on potential Valeant-Allergan deal, Wall Street lines up to fund it

It remains to be seen whether unconventional M&A tactics from Valeant's takeover partner, Bill Ackman, will help the pair get a deal for Allergan done. But in the meanwhile, one lawmaker is putting heat on the SEC to consider revising the rules that allowed them.

Bayer's Nexavar misses another study endpoint, this time for breast cancer

Nexavar, the blockbuster cancer drug sold by Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, has failed again in a trial for a new indication. 

J&J builds 9-month supply of Doxil with creative problem solving

A Johnson & Johnson exercise in creative problem solving has paid off for doctors and patients who rely on its ovarian cancer drug Doxil, availability of which has been uncertain for years. Its Janssen unit has accumulated a significant supply after assuming manufacturing at Boehringer Ingelheim plant that otherwise was closed down at the end of the year.

Gilead's Zydelig, J&J's Imbruvica will go toe-to-toe in EU with nod for CLL

Gilead Sciences, which this week got FDA approval for its new blood cancer drug Zydelig (idelalisib), has now gotten a recommendation for its use in Europe. But competitor Imbruvica from Johnson & Johnson, which got a head start in the U.S., also received a nod from EU authorities today.

With Shire deal in the bag, Humira leap helps AbbVie hold its own

AbbVie may have just struck a deal with Shire in order to diversify beyond its top drug, Humira. But that doesn't mean the drug isn't steamrolling.

Still reeling from China bribery probe, GSK faces corruption scandal in Syria

The British company said Thursday that it had received an email containing allegations from a whistleblower pertaining to bribes paid by GSK's consumer healthcare operation in Syria before it was shut down amidst the country's civil war in 2012.

Bristol-Myers beats profit estimates, thanks to strong Yervoy, Eliquis numbers

Bristol-Myers Squibb's melanoma drug Yervoy and clot-fighter Eliquis helped boost its earnings past analyst forecasts, with $333 million in profits on $3.9 billion in revenue.

Roche's breast cancer franchise keeps delivering, with huge jumps for Perjeta, Kadcyla

Blame a strong Swiss franc on any falling sales and profits Roche put up in the first half of 2014, the company said Thursday. The Swiss pharma's cancer drugs certainly didn't cause the decline, with newcomers Perjeta and Kadcyla helping power the group with especially noteworthy revenue gains.

BMJ targets Pradaxa safety, scolding Boehringer, FDA and EMA alike

The BMJ has set off a kerfuffle--and a Twitter campaign--over the safety of Boehringer Ingelheim's blockbuster anticoagulant Pradaxa.

Can Gilead break into cancer? With Zydelig approval, it gets its chance

Armed with a brand-new FDA approval for its blood cancer drug Zydelig (idelalisib), Gilead will take on the oncology market.

Eli Lilly's Q2 profit sags on patent expirations but beats (low) expectations

Eli Lilly said 2014 would be an extraordinarily challenging year, and judging from its second-quarter earnings, that prediction wasn't wrong. Lilly's revenue dropped 17% to $4.9 billion in the second quarter, largely because the company lost its patent protection on two of its biggest blockbusters: the anti-depressant Cymbalta, which once brought in nearly $5 billion in sales annually, and osteoporosis drug Evista, previously a $1-billion-a-year hit.

Payer pushback aside, Sovaldi, and so Gilead, has another huge quarter

Gilead Sciences' juggernaut, Sovaldi, keeps on rolling along despite the pushback from payers, politicians and health officials over the high price of the hepatitis C cure. It racked up another $3.5 billion sales in the second quarter, on top of the nearly $2.3 billion in the first, a sum that made it the fastest drug launch ever.

$9.9M 'golden hello' awaits Shire chief Ornskov at new AbbVie post

When AbbVie buys out Shire for nearly $55 billion in a deal the two companies agreed on last week, there will be no golden parachute awaiting Shire chief Flemming Ornskov. Instead, there's a signing bonus in order: The helmsman will pocket just under $10 million for staying on with the combined company in a new role.