T

op of the morning to you. And a fine one, it is, although a bit nippy here on the Pharmalot campus, where a warm sun is shining, the shortest of short people has left for the local schoolhouse, and the official mascots are happily snoozing. As for us, we are keeping toasty by quaffing cups of delicious stimulation. As always, we invite you to join us. Remember, no prescription is required. And now, time to get on with things. Here are a few items of interest to help you along. Hope your day is successful and do keep us in mind when you hear something interesting …

Two Indian states halted sales of the Avastin cancer treatment, which some doctors also use off-label to treat macular degeneration, after the treatment hampered the vision of 15 patients, Reuters reports. Studies have shown Avastin, which is made by Roche, can help with the eye affliction. But the drug maker has repeatedly warned about the risk of contamination, since vials of the cancer treatment must be divided for eye patients.

The New York attorney general reached a deal with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals to extend a $6 price cut on naloxone, which can reverse an opioid or heroin overdose. The drug maker was widely criticized over the past two years by state officials and members of Congress for its pricing. Last summer, Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, said state agencies were paying $41 a dose, a 111 percent increase from June 2014.

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The Gavi global alliance for vaccines, a public-private partnership, signed a $5 million deal committing to purchase a vaccine that Merck is developing to protect against future outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, Reuters writes. In doing so, the organization believes the arrangement will help the drug maker take the vaccine through late-stage clinical trials. As part of the arrangement, Merck is expected to seek licensing by the end of 2017.

French Health Minister Marisol Touraine criticized the slow response of the contract research organization running the clinical trial in which one patient died and others are in critical condition, PharmaFile writes. She noted that BioTrial did not report that the patient with the worst side effects was taken to a hospital for four days. “Faced with such a serious situation, we would expect the laboratory to approach the health authorities more quickly,” she said.

Martin Shkreli is seeking for new lawyers in his quest to beat securities fraud charges, according to Bloomberg News, which cited a court filing.

Zafgen says that its obesity drug candidate met both main goals in a late-stage trial, which gained notoriety last year after two patient died, Xconomy tells us.

Pfizer is expected to reach a joint production deal later this month with Polysan, which is based in St. Petersburg, Russia, according to TASS.

The FDA approved two additional indications for the Cosentyx medicine from Novartis for treating ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, Modern Medicine says.

Lilly and Incyte are seeking FDA approval for their experimental JAK inhibitor, called baricitinib, to treat moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis, Pharma Times writes.

The FDA has begun a priority review of an Eisai treatment for the most common form of kidney cancer, according to PMLive.

Pfizer invested $46 million in separate collaborations with four R&D companies that specialize in developing gene therapies and immuno-oncology candidates, among other things, Outsourcing Pharma tells us.

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