Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? We hope the weekend respite was refreshing, because that familiar routine of meetings, deadlines, and whatnot has returned. At least for most of us. There is a looming holiday on this side of the pond, which signals that a shortened work week lies ahead. Nonetheless, we are as busy as ever. So time for a cup of stimulation. Here are the latest tidbits. Have a smashing day and do stay in touch …
Pfizer and Allergan are merging in a $160 billion deal that will create the world’s largest drug maker. The move is likely to stir controversy, since the companies are largely motivated by a chance to slash their corporate tax bill. Hoping to forestall congressional action against merger deals known as tax inversions, Pfizer chief executive Ian Read sent a letter to lawmakers trying to emphasize the virtues of the transaction.
Martin Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals plans to offers discounts of up to 50 percent to hospitals on Daraprim, the decades-old medicine the drug maker recently bought before boosting the price from $13.50 to $750 a pill, The Wall Street Journal reports. No further specific information was disclosed, but discounts will vary depending upon hospital orders. The Human Rights Campaign says Turing is still price gouging.
A vaccine being developed by Celldex Therapeutics to combat glioblastoma, which is brain cancer, reduced the risk of death from the disease by 47 percent in a 73-patient randomized study, The Wall Street Journal reports. The news sent Celldex stock up 11 percent because this is the first time a so-called immunotherapy treatment improved survival in a randomized trial of glioblastoma patients.
A former Sanofi paralegal claims in an affidavit she was aware of “many instances” in which lawyers for the drug makers destroyed documents to avoid providing them to opponents in litigation, CNBC reports. The accusation was made in a lawsuit filed last year by Diane Ponte, who claims former Sanofi chief executive Chris Viehbacher and several US managers allegedly conspired to pay kickbacks in order to promote wider prescribing of diabetes drugs.
AstraZeneca laid off about 50 workers from its Fairfax, Del., headquarters, where about 2,100 people are employed, according to The News Journal.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca sold the rights to its Entocort treatment for Crohn’s disease to Perrigo as part of its ongoing effort to unload unessential assets, Reuters says.
The Food and Drug Administration approved a multiple myeloma drug from Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the third such treatment to be endorsed by the agency, the Associated Press informs us.
The FDA approved a combination of two Novartis drugs — Tafinlar and Mekinist — to treat metastatic melanoma, Reuters writes.
Yusuf Hamied, the non-executive chairman of Cipla, one of India’s biggest generic drug makers, was named to a high-level United Nations panel on health technology innovation and access, The Economic Times says.
Strides Shasun won FDA approval to make and sell a generic version of Avodart, a GlaxoSmithKline drug used to treat enlarged prostates, in the US, LiveMint tells us.