And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. This is, you may recall, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda, once again, is rather modest. We expect to spend most of our time removing leaves from the Pharmalot grounds, spending time with our shortest of short people and taking a nap or three. And you? There is still time to enjoy the great outdoors. You can prepare for the upcoming holiday which, for some, may require a degree of forethought. Or simply plan the rest of your life. Whatever you do, have a grand time. But be safe. See you soon …
The US Treasury released new rules to make it harder for companies to complete mergers as tax inversions, although Pfizer (PFE) is apparently proceeding with such a deal to acquire Allergan (AGN). The companies are negotiating a 2 percent to 3 percent break-up fee worth up to $4.5 billion if the deal, currently valued at $150 billion, falls through, Reuters says. And a deal could be worth $187 million to Allergan chief executive Brent Saunders, Bloomberg News reports.
If you’re curious about what the federal government may do about prescription drug prices, tune in to the all-day forum that the US Department of Health and Human Services is hosting right here. Among those scheduled to appear on the panels are Merck chief executive Ken Frazier, Express Scripts senior vice president Steve Miller, Kaiser Permanente chief executive Bernard Tyson and Andy Slavitt of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
In an unusual deal for two major drug makers, Sanofi (SNY) and AstraZeneca (AZN) have agreed to exchange some 210,000 chemical compounds from their libraries. There are no payments associated with the exchange, and each company can investigate the compounds it receives without restrictions on disease areas. The move comes as both companies struggle to replenish their product portfolios and appease restive shareholders.
Christopher Viehbacher, who was fired as chief executive of Sanofi a year ago, is launching a new drug company called Boston Pharmaceuticals with $600 million from Gurnet Point Capital, The Boston Globe reports. The new venture, which is co-founded with former Eli Lilly research head Robert Armstong, plans to start some companies and acquire others.
Dr. Reddy’s has filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca claiming breach of a settlement agreement that released the Indian drug maker from liability if it were to sell generic versions of the Nexium heartburn medicine, The Economic Times writes. The move comes after AstraZeneca obtained a temporary restraining order that prevented Dr. Reddy’s from selling its generic version on the grounds that it violated the “Purple Pill” trademark associated with the drug.
Martin Shkreli, who made national headlines when his Turing Pharmaceuticals bought a decades-old medicine and quickly raised the price from $13.50 to $750 a pill, bought a controlling interest in KaloBios and its shares jumped about fivefold, The Chicago Tribune tells us. KaloBios last week disclosed it was nearly out of cash and planned to wind down operations.
Doctors Without Borders dumped $17 million in fake currency outside Pfizer headquarters in midtown Manhattan yesterday to protest pricing of the company’s Prevnar pneumonia vaccines, the FDAnews writes. The advocacy group says that amount represents daily sales of the vaccine, for which Pfizer charges $16.50 per vaccine dose. That works out to nearly $50 per patient, which the groups says is out of reach for people in many countries.
Amid disappointing sales of its Afrezza inhaled insulin, MannKind has replaced chief executive Hakan Edstrom with Al Mann, who founded and bankrolled the company. Mann, who is chairman, will act as interim CEO.
Horizon Pharma withdrew its $1 billion bid for Depomed after a California court determined the offer was based on improper use of confidential information and blocked the bid, The Wall Street Journal tells us.
The American Cancer Society wants limits on out-of-pocket costs for cancer drugs after finding that most plans in six states placed all or nearly all of 22 meds in tiers that require higher payments, Kaiser Health says.
The European Medicines Agency approved Samsung’s biosimilar version of the Enbrel rheumatoid arthritis treatment, which poses a threat to Pfizer, according to Bloomberg News.
Merck and Eli Lilly extended an existing agreement to investigate a combination of their Alimta and Keytruda medications for combating non-small cell lung cancer, Pharma Times says.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill allowing pharmacies to substitute biosimilars for innovative biologics, BioPharma Reporter tells us.