R

ise and shine, everyone, another busy day is on the way. The to-do list is growing quickly here on the Pharmalot campus, where a warm and shiny sun is coaxing the official mascots to sleep. We, however, are busy brewing yet another cup of stimulation as we prepare for our own version of R&D. Perhaps you can relate? To help you along on your own journey, here is the usual menu of tidbits. Hope your day goes well and drop us a line some time …

Dr. Robert Califf, who has been nominated to become the next Food and Drug Administration commissioner, appears before the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions this morning. Republican lawmakers are likely to embrace Califf, although Democrats may question his ties to drug makers. You can watch the proceedings here starting at 10 a.m.

A Johnson & Johnson drug won Food and Drug Administration approval for treating multiple myeloma in patients who’ve failed prior therapies and have few options left, the Associated Press writes. The drug is the first monoclonal antibody approved to treat the illness. In a 106-patient study, tumors shrank or were no longer detectable in 29 percent of patients, and the benefit lasted for an average of 7.4 months.

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Scientists seeking a cure for AIDS made an unexpected discovery with a drug designed to combat alcoholism, which may be a critical part of a strategy to ‘wake up’ and kill dormant HIV hiding in the body, Reuters reports. The drug was given to 30 HIV-positive patients who were already taking AIDS drugs and, at the highest given dose, there was evidence that “dormant HIV was activated.”

Isis Pharmaceuticals is named after an Egyptian goddess associated with good health, but the company is considering a name change, CNN Money reports. Why? After the recent terrors attacks in Paris, most people these days clearly do not think about an Egyptian goddess when they hear the word. “The name itself has so many negative connotations,” said D. Wade Walke, the company’s vice president for corporate communications and investor relations.

Companies are racing to develop diagnostic technologies so that hospitals and clinics can use them to identify causes of common infections quickly, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Private Medicaid plans are seizing on the political rancor over prescription drug prices to lobby for an overhaul of how the government insurance program pays for medicine, STAT writes.

A late stage trial of a Gilead Sciences drug in previously treated patients with a particular type of leukemia was unblinded early after a monitoring committee decided the medicine provided significant benefit, Reuters writes.

Teligent, a specialty genetic pharmaceutical company, acquired all the assets of Alveda Pharmaceuticals for $47 million, according to NJBiz.

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