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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the long holiday respite was refreshing and enjoyable, because that familiar routine of meetings, deadlines, and whatnot has now returned. You knew this would happen, yes? To cope, we are relying on a few cups of needed stimulation — our flavor today is Rain Forest Nut — and you are, of course, invited to join us. Meanwhile, here is the latest menu of tidbits. Quite a few, since we are playing catch-up this morning. Have a smashing day and do stay in touch …

Roche dropped out of a high-profile project to develop an antibiotic for treating superbugs and returned the compound to Polyphor, its development partner, Reuters writes. Two years ago, Roche agreed to pay Polyphor up to $485.3 million for rights to the product. The deal generated notice at the time because it was a rare for a major drug maker to enter the battle against superbug infections in hospitals.

Neil Woodford, a UK fund manager and a major shareholder in Northwest Biotherapeutics, is urging the biotech firm to probe allegations about governance issues involving Linda Powers, the chairman and chief executive, The Wall Street Journal says. She denied financial irregularities between Northwest and entities related to her, and maintained that payments for services had been cleared by the Northwest board, independently audited, and filed with regulators.


India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization granted a waiver of local clinical trials for new drugs used to treat hepatitis C, The Economic Times reports. The waiver for a co-formulation of Sovaldi and Harvoni — two Gilead Sciences meds — and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Daklinza — should make it possible for generic version of these drugs, which cost a fraction of the branded versions, to become available in the Indian market within weeks.

The Food and Drug Administration declined to approve Opdivo, an immuno-oncology drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb, to treat an additional type of advanced skin cancer, Reuters reports.


A number of groups that supported the priority review voucher program are not terribly happy with the results so far, and the FDA is not thrilled either, STAT writes.

GlaxoSmithKline has cut 40 percent of its sales reps in China and closed some units in hopes of reviving business there in 2016, following a bribery scandal that hurt sales and forced a $490 million fine in 2014, Reuters writes.

Novartis is considering the sale of its contact lens division in a move that could generate a $1.6 billion sale, according to Bloomberg News.

Sanofi is preparing to sell or list its Merial animal health unit, which may be valued at $12.7 billion, according to Reuters.

Roche has launched two drugs for late-stage breast cancer — Kadcyla and Perjeta — at prices that are higher than any other cancer treatment available in the Indian market, The Economic Times reports.

Servier plans to cut 610 jobs and reorganize its sales force due to increasing generic competition, regulated prices for medicines, and delays in obtaining regulatory approval for its drugs, according to Reuters.

Samsung plans to invest $740 million to construct a new facility in South Korea that will double its production capacity and make it the world’s largest contract drug maker by 2018, The Wall Street Journal says.

Purdue Pharma and four other drug makers again moved to dismiss a groundbreaking lawsuit filed by the city of Chicago that claims narcotic painkillers were inappropriately marketed, The National Law Journal reports.

Merck KGaA is considering selling its allergy business in order to reduce debt following its $17 billion takeover of Sigma-Aldrich, Bloomberg News says.

Pfizer says its Lyrica drug failed to reduce pain more than a placebo for patients suffering from chronic nerve pain caused by traumatic accidents or surgeries, The Wall Street Journal notes.

Pfizer agreed to buy a 3 percent stake in Sosei Group and enter into a drug-discovery collaboration with Heptares, the Japanese company’s UK unit, Bloomberg News writes.

India’s Delhi High Court in India sided with Roche in its patent infringement battle with Cipla over the Tarceva lung cancer medication, LiveMint tells us.