Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? A warm, shiny sun is enveloping the Pharmalot campus, where both short people and the official mascots are sleeping in. As for us, no such luck. We are as busy as ever foraging for interesting items and keeping up with our expanding to-do list. No doubt, you can relate. So time to get cracking. Here is the usual menu of tidbits to get your started. Have a smashing day and do drop us a line if you run across anything fascinating …
A showdown between Gilead Sciences and Merck over patent rights for the Sovaldi and Harvoni hepatitis C treatments got underway Monday in a federal courtroom, The Recorder writes. At issue are two patents which Merck claims gave it rights to a class of nucleotides that could prove effective in treating hepatitis C. Merck also contends Gilead relied on this class of compounds and is seeking $3 billion in royalties for using its discovery.
The Gilead Sciences campaign to advertise its Harvoni hepatitis C treatment directly to consumers appears to be working as doctors report more patients asking for the medication, STAT writes. Patients “have Harvoni on the mind because of these TV commercials,” said Mount Sinai Hospital hepatologist Dr. Douglas Dieterich. So far, more than 11,000 ads have aired on TV, and the total value of the time slots is estimated at up to $80 million.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals will disclose its fourth-quarter results and update investors on its financial guidance next week, The Wall Street Journal says. The drug maker had planned to report results on Feb. 29, but postponed the session and withdrew the guidance the night before, because Michael Pearson, the chief executive, had just returned from medical leave.
The US Patent and Trademark Office begins a hearing Wednesday to determine whether the University of California or the Broad Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology receive patents covering the use of CRISPR-Cas9, the genome-editing technology that is revolutionizing molecular biology, STAT writes.
Amgen is now “more energetic about being out there” and finding acquisitions, the biotech’s chief financial officer, David Meline, tells Bloomberg News. Two months ago, the company pointed to six therapeutic categories it plans to focus on, including cardiovascular and neuroscience, which would be newer areas for the biotech. Amgen has about $30 billion in cash and equivalents.
Sanofi Pasteur and Merck are ending their 22-year-old joint venture to develop vaccines for the European market, a move that comes as Sanofi undergoes a widespread reorganization.
A federal inspection report found a Theranos lab ran an important blood test on 81 patients over a six-month period despite erratic results from quality-control checks meant to ensure accuracy, The Wall Street Journal reports.
AbbVie is making a $595 million upfront payment to Boehringer Ingelheim as part of a plan to develop and commercialize a biologic drug in Phase 3 testing for psoriasis, Pharma Times says.
Celldex Therapeutics stock fell more than 50 percent Monday after saying it will discontinue a Phase 3 trial of a brain cancer treatment, MarketWatch writes.
Zydus Pharmaceuticals USA is recalling 9,504 bottles of the Risperidone antipsychotic tablets made in India by Cadila Healthcare, TwoFour Insight says.