News

Doom for combo meds? Express Scripts, CVS dump Horizon Pharma two-in-one drugs

When do rising drug prices not equal rising sales? When payers step in to control costs--and that's exactly what they've been doing.

Want to claim a name? FDA needs your input on locking down brand monikers

Advertising experts have a few tricks up their sleeves when concocting a drug's proprietary name--like Zytiga, Xtandi and Xeljanz--that might thrust the product to success. Now, the FDA is looking for ideas about allowing drugmakers to reserve these names in advance--with a few rules.

Amgen makes deep job cuts to position itself for post-Enbrel world

When California biotech Amgen picked up Onyx Pharmaceuticals a year ago for $10.4 billion to get its hands on the multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis, investors were wondering what the future would hold for the world's largest biotech. CEO Robert Bradway at least partially answered that question Tuesday saying the company would ax 15% of its workforce.

A $635M win-win deal boosts Pfizer in vaccines, slims Baxter for spinoff

Looks like Pfizer's finally getting the vaccines expansion it's been hankering for. The company agreed to pick up Baxter's marketed vaccines portfolio for $635 million, building up its own business as the Illinois healthcare company slims down for a pharma unit spinoff next year.

Bayer nabs new OKs for Eylea, Stivarga as top meds skate past forecasts

In March, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers boldly predicted that the company's 5 new drugs--including the blood thinner Xarelto and the macular degeneration treatment Eylea--would help his company achieve 8% annual sales growth through 2016. Judging from the company's second quarter results, Bayer is well on its way to making good on that goal.

China sets trial date for GSK-tied investigators, says it will be 'open'

China will try two private investigators tied to GlaxoSmithKline's operations there in just over a week on charges of illegally purchasing personal information about Chinese nationals, a Chinese court said. And according to state news agency Xinhua, all are welcome to attend.

J&J, Pharmacyclics celebrate yet another nod for leukemia med Imbruvica

Johnson & Johnson's new blood cancer drug Imbruvica (ibrutinib) is on a roll. The FDA just armed the drug with a new indication in chronic lymphocytic leukemia, adding to a series of regulatory nods.

Don't get too excited, investors: GSK has no near-term plans for consumer health spinoff

Let GlaxoSmithKline be clear: It's open to spinning off its consumer healthcare division at some nebulous point in the future. But it's not happening anytime soon.

Beyond the Q2 numbers, three big questions for Pfizer

Pfizer beat analyst expectations for earnings. That's not as positive as it sounds, and it's certainly not the whole story.

Merck beats Q2 earnings estimates, but mostly on cost-cutting

Merck surprised Wall Street analysts today when it announced that its net profit in the second quarter jumped to $2 billion from $906 million in the same period a year ago, and that it was raising the lower end of its income forecast for 2014. But it's not exactly time to pop out the champagne corks and declare a successful turnaround.

AstraZeneca rolls out preemie newspaper ads to fight Synagis limits

Drugmakers cheer when influential doctors' groups revise treatment guidelines to include new drugs. But as AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit knows, those groups can backpedal. 

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.