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Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? A spot of rain has descended over the Pharmalot campus, but our spirits remain as sunny as ever. At times like this we hark back to a favorite piece of wisdom from the Morning Mayor: “Every brand new day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.” So while you tug on the ribbon, please join us for a cup of stimulation and, of course, we hope you enjoy the tidbits we have gathered below. Have a great day …

UnitedHealth Group’s Oxford unit, which runs health plans in the northeastern US, will cover the new Praluent injectable cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, instead of a rival treatment from Amgen, Bloomberg News reports. The moves come one week after CVS, which operates the nation’s second-largest pharmacy benefits manager, decided to cover only the Amgen drug.

Throughout the developed world, the cost of brand-name medicines is generally higher in the US, The Wall Street Journal writes. For instance, prices in the US were higher for 93 percent of 40 top-selling brand-name drugs available in both the US and Norway in the third quarter. And similar patterns appeared when comparisons were made with drugs sold in England and Canada’s Ontario province.


An analysis of congressional disclosure forms found roughly 30 percent of senators and 20 percent of representatives held assets in biopharma and health-care companies, or in specialty funds that invest in those industries, during 2014, according to STAT. The most common investments in the House were Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Merck. In the Senate, investors favored Pfizer, Merck and J&J.

Amgen took a significant step by submitting an application to the Food and Drug Administration to sell a biosimilar version of AbbVie’s Humira, Reuters writes. This is the first application that the biotech has submitted to market a biosimilar medication. Amgen says its drug demonstrated comparable effectiveness and safety to Humira in late-stage clinical trials for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.


The FDA approved a multiple myeloma treatment called Empliciti from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AbbVie, according to the Associated Press.  The drug, which is the third new drug approved to treat this kind of blood cancer, works by stimulating the immune system to fight off cancerous cells. Empliciti will be used in combination with two other drugs to treat patients with multiple myeloma who have received one to three prior courses of medication.

Roche signed a deal with Upsher-Smith Laboratories to develop an experimental treatment for combating various inflammatory diseases, Pharma Times tells us.

Teva Pharmaceutical is forming a joint venture with Takeda Pharmaceutical to sell generic drugs in Japan and will hold 51 percent of the entity, The Philadelphia Business Journal says.

China is intent on boosting domestic production of pharmaceuticals, fueled in part by a China Food and Drug Administration promise to accelerate new drug approvals, Reuters writes.

Teva signed a deal worth up to $410 million with Heptares Pharma to co-develop a portfolio of migraine therapies, according to PMLive.

The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Covidien to restore a $176 million patent infringement verdict against Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Reuters says.

More than 90 percent of large investors polled by Evercore ISI believe that Pfizer will sell its generic business, a move the drug maker says will be decided by 2018, in-Pharma Technologist writes.