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And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? This is, as you know, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda is quite abbreviated, since we must get ready to attend the J.P. Morgan to-do next week. Wish us luck. This means our posting next week will be sporadic at best. But what about you? Perhaps this is an opportunity to curl up with a good e-book or reach out to people you missed during the recent holiday break. You could also plan the rest of your life. Whatever you do, have a grand time, but be safe …

Walgreens Boots Alliance defended its new, 20-year agreement with Valeant Pharmaceuticals, arguing the deal will not only lower customer costs but also become a model for future arrangements, The Wall Street Journal reports. The deal calls for Walgreens to fill prescriptions for Valeant drugs, but some pharmacy benefit managers have expressed concerns. Meanwhile, there is speculation the retailer will look to buy a pharmacy benefits manager.

Mylan Laboratories struck a deal to develop, manufacture, and market six biosimilar drugs with Momenta Pharmaceuticals. Among the biosimilars mentioned is Orencia, a brand-name rheumatoid arthritis treatment that is sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mylan will make an upfront cash payment of $45 million and up to another $200 million in milestones, and share the costs and profits equally.


Top UK investor Neil Woodford is again pushing GlaxoSmithKline to break up. The drug maker does not “do a particularly good job of managing all of the constituent parts,” he tells BBC News. “We’d like the business to recognize that it should focus on certain activities in the portfolio and do them better than they have done in the past, de-merge the bits they haven’t managed particularly well and let other people who specialize in those activities run those businesses.”

Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline is now building in-house teams to make presentations to doctors now that it no longer pays outside physicians directly for speaking engagements, The Financial Times reports. The move is part of a policy to reform marketing practices and offer more transparency. Last year, the drug maker recruited more than 150 medics and is training some of the 1,000 or doctors on its existing staff as speakers.


Drug shortages climbed more than fivefold between 2008 to 2014, following a seven-year decline, and roughly one-third of the nearly 1,800 documented were for drugs used in emergency medicine settings, according to MedPage Today, citing a new study. Ominously, about half of the drugs for which shortages exist were described as “lifesaving interventions.”

Martin Shkreli put up his $45 million E*Trade account in order to secure $5 million in bail after being arrested last month on fraud charges, Bloomberg News reports.

Proton pump inhibitors, which are used to treat heartburn and acid reflux, may make some people more prone to bacterial infections by altering the types of bacteria in their stomach, Reuters writes, citing new research.

ViiV Healthcare, which is largely owned by GlaxoSmithKline, is teaming with Johnson & Johnson to develop and commercialize the first long-acting, two-drug injectable HIV treatment, Pharma Times writes.

Roche is set to proceed with plans to seek regulatory approval for its PD-L1 inhibitor to treat advanced bladder cancer after reporting additional positive clinical trial results, PMLive tells us.

Dynavax shares soared after the company reported its hepatitis B vaccine outdid a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine in a late-stage clinical trial, Investor’s Business Daily writes.

UniQure reported that its experimental treatment for hemophilia B increased blood clotting in two patients, according to Bloomberg News.