Top of the morning to you. And a fine one it is here on the Pharmalot campus, where the shortest of the short people has left for the local schoolhouse and the official mascots are snoozing on the unofficial Pharmalot office furniture. As for us, we are as busy as ever foraging for interesting items. We suspect that you can relate. So time to get cracking. Here are some tidbits. Hope you conquer the world and do drop us a line if you hear anything interesting …
Bill Ackman will testify Wednesday before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which is probing pricing practices at Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management is one of Valeant’s biggest shareholders, is also a board member. Also scheduled to testify is Michael Pearson, the outgoing Valeant chief executive, and board member Howard Schiller. Pearson was grilled last week by the same committee.
As Joe Papa exits Perrigo to run Valeant Pharmaceuticals, he leaves behind a struggling drug maker just months after he convinced shareholders to reject what now looks like a favorable takeover offer from Mylan Laboratories, the Wall Street Journal writes. “In hindsight, Perrigo management set unrealistic and aspirational earnings guidance in its effort to defend against Mylan’s hostile bid,” Wells Fargo analyst David Maris told the paper.
Vaccines are sometimes an afterthought in a pharmaceuticals industry that is more focused on treatments than prevents, but the success of Pfizer’s Prevnar demonstrates these products can be as lucrative as any drug, the Financial Times points out. The pneumococcal vaccine generated sales of $6.25 billion last year, which was almost three times as much as Viagra and up 40 percent from the year before.
AstraZeneca sold the rights to its recently approved Zurampic gout medication to Ironwood Pharmaceuticals for up to $265 million, Reuters tells us. Separately, the US Food and Drug Administration approved AstraZeneca’s Bevespi Aerosphere therapy, which combines two treatments in one dose for people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as bronchitis and emphysema, The Telegraph says.
Catalyst Pharmaceuticals must run another study of its Firdapse drug in patients with a rare autoimmune disorder called Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome in order to win US regulatory approval.
Bristol-Myers Squibb won a breakthrough designation from the FDA for its Opdivo medication for a potential indication to treat head and neck cancer, Pharma Times writes.
An Indian court is allowing two drug makers — Biocon and Reliance Life Sciences — to sell and manufacture versions of Roche’s Herceptin breast cancer drug, but with certain restrictions, The Times of India reports.
The European Commission approved a combination HIV therapy from Gilead Sciences that is called Descovy and is a new version of its blockbuster Truvada treatment, PMLive writes.