News

UCB hops on pharma's spinoff wagon with potential $2B sale of generics business

Shedding noncore assets is the trend du jour in Big Pharma, and now another company may be jumping on the bandwagon. Belgium's UCB is reportedly looking into a sale of Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals, its Princeton, NJ-based generics unit.

Roche persuades U.S. judge to toss $2M Accutane verdict

Roche has emerged victorious in its quest to reverse a $2.1 million verdict by a New Jersey jury in favor of a woman who blamed the Swiss pharma's acne med Accutane for her inflammatory bowel disease, Bloomberg reports.

Ackman's crusade for Valeant-Allergan combo gets a key nod from proxy advisers

Bill Ackman hasn't rounded up enough support to call the special meeting of Allergan shareholders that's crucial to Valeant's buyout bid. But now, he's got a proxy advisory firm to back his cause.

Note to Big Pharma: Discounts work. GSK price cuts score Advair a payer boost

GlaxoSmithKline giant Advair may be reeling, but it hasn't kicked the bucket yet. And now, it's getting a payer boost that will breathe a little life into falling sales. With dismal second-quarter results depressing investors, the news couldn't have come at a better time.

Hep C a rare disease? Drugs from Gilead, J&J, et al. could make it so, but at a price

The good news: Hepatitis C could be a rare disease just 20 years from now, thanks to stepped-up screening and new-but-pricey treatments. The bad: governments, taxpayers, private insurers and health-plan members will have to foot the bill. And it's quite a bill.

Novo Nordisk more valuable than GlaxoSmithKline? That's what investors say

Who'd have thought Novo Nordisk could zoom past GlaxoSmithKline in the pharma market value rankings? Predictable or not, that's just what's happened. As Bloomberg reports, Novo shares are up 27% this year, pushing its market cap to $120 billion, several billions past Glaxo's.

Is Medicare wasting $220M a year on Questcor's controversial Acthar?

Since Ireland's Mallinckrodt agreed in April to acquire the California-based biotech Questcor, questions have been flying about the major asset behind that deal: Acthar Gel. Now some medical experts suggest Medicare is paying way too much for Acthar.

Sanofi plots FDA app for blockbuster-to-be dengue vaccine in early 2015

Sanofi's in line to rack up blockbuster sales after hitting a wide-open market with its dengue vaccine, analysts predict. And company CEO Chris Viehbacher thinks those sales could start rolling in before next year is out.

Amgen builds case for bigger Kyprolis market with impressive second-line data

Amgen put out the word Monday that adding Kyprolis to combo therapy with Celgene's Revlimid beat out the Revlimid combo alone in melanoma patients who had relapsed.

GSK private eyes' son allowed first visit to parents in China jail as trial nears

On Friday, 19-year-old Harvey Humphrey visited his parents, the husband-and-wife team of private detectives who did investigative work for GlaxoSmithKline's disgraced China office, for the first time since they were detained by Chinese police last summer. The family saga painfully illustrates the potential pitfalls of doing business in China.

Express Scripts hits Amgen, Zogenix as it punts another 25 drugs

Express Scripts has struck again. The pharmacy benefits manager is barring another 25 drugs, including some aging heavyweights like Amgen's anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen, and newer meds such as the controversial painkiller Zohydro, made by Zogenix.

Allergan 'insider trading' lawsuit piles uncertainty onto Valeant's takeover try

Valeant and Bill Ackman's $54 billion bid for Allergan is definitely a bit unconventional. But is it insider trading? Allergan thinks so--and it's suing to prove it, a move that could hurt Valeant's chances to seal the deal.

Private equity weighs $10B-plus combo of aging Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline brands

GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi could both unload their on-the-block products in one fell swoop. As the Financial Times reports, a handful of private equity firms are considering a buyout of both Big Pharma portfolios, planning to merge the two into one bigger set.

Teva gets more than half of U.S. Copaxone patients converted to long-lasting version

One of the key strategies being pursued by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to protect itself against generic competition to Copaxone is to switch patients over to its new longer-lasting version of the drug. And in the U.S., the drugmaker is just over halfway there.

FDA comes around on Boehringer, Lilly's diabetes med Jardiance

The FDA is changing its tune on Jardiance, a Boehringer Ingelheim diabetes med it hasn't been so keen on in the past. After rejecting the drug in the face of a manufacturing issue, the agency Friday gave it approval to treat Type 2 diabetes.

Can Boehringer carve out space in a crowded COPD market with new approval?

The COPD market has its fair share of contenders, but that's not stopping Boehringer Ingelheim from joining the party. The German drugmaker has nabbed FDA approval for its own entrant, which will go up against the likes of Glaxo's aging giant Advair in a market-share showdown. But despite the competition, BI is hoping it can still find its corner.

UPDATED: Germany gives an initial 'no additional benefit' on Biogen Idec's Tecfidera

Biogen Idec's multiple sclerosis blockbuster Tecfidera for a second time has hit a roadblock in its effort to replicate in Europe the kind of runaway success it has had in the U.S. Germany's price watchdog IQWIG says it has found "no additional benefit" for the treatment compared to existing options, a preliminary decision that could deny it premium pricing there.

Vertex scores 250 new Kalydeco patients with EMA approval

Vertex' patient pool for cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco is getting wider--250 patients wider, to be specific. The European Medicines Agency has green-lighted the drug--originally approved for CF patients with at least one copy of the G551D mutation--for 8 additional mutations, spelling new revenue potential for the orphan drugmaker.

Top Sanofi U.S. exec departs amid struggles in diabetes franchise

According to an internal memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal blog Pharmalot, Whitaker is leaving for "another opportunity."

J&J oncology vet takes the helm at foundering Dendreon

Struggling Dendreon has named a new CEO in W. Thomas Amick, a longtime Johnson & Johnson vet.