Hello, everyone, and how are you today? We are just fine, thank you, as a warm and shiny sun envelops the Pharmalot campus, where the shortest of short people has left for a summer activity and the official mascots are snoozing away. As for us, we are pursuing our usual routine of foraging for interesting items and the like. And there is no time to waste. So here are some tidbits for you. Have a smashing day and do keep in touch …
Biogen chief executive George Scangos will leave the biotech sometime over the next few months. The decision follows a difficult year marked by executive changes, cutbacks, a falling stock price, and uncertainty about strategy. Biogen, which is struggling to jump start its multiple sclerosis franchise, plans to spin off its hemophilia business and recently suffered a setback when a mid-stage trial failed.
Theranos is belatedly scrambling to bolster its regulatory compliance by hiring two new executives and creating a new compliance and quality committee. The beleaguered lab company hired Dave Wurtz from Thermo Fisher as vice president for regulatory and quality, and Daniel Guggenheim, a lawyer at McKesson lawyer, as chief compliance officer. Both will report to Theranos chief executive Elizabeth Holmes.
Novartis is bracing for pricing pressure from US lawmakers regardless of who occupies the White House. “We believe that, no matter which candidate wins, we will see a more difficult pricing environment in the US,” Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez tells the Financial Times. “We all have to plan for new pricing models in the US that could help us ensure the sustainability of the system as the population ages.”
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals is cutting 13 percent of its workforce and withdrawing its Juxtapid drug, which is used to treat familial hypercholesterolemia, from the European Union. The move follows a a 25 percent cut in its workforce earlier this year as the company faces increasing pressure from the PCSK9 inhibitors, a new type of cholesterol-lowering medicines.
Novo Nordisk, which cosponsored the “Rethink Obesity” panel at the Republican National Convention, is pushing lawmakers to enact a bill pending in Congress to lift a ban preventing Medicare from paying for obesity drugs, STAT reports. “That kind of blanket exclusion is unscientific and counterproductive,” Dr. Scott Kahan, a physician at Johns Hopkins University and director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness, told us.
Galenica, which owns Switzerland’s biggest pharmacy network, agreed to buy Relypsa for about $1.53 billion, Bloomberg News writes. The deal gives the company a US-based commercial network and global rights to Relypsa’s Veltassa drug, which was the first new medicine in 50 years to be approved in the US for hyperkalemia, a condition in which there is too much potassium in the blood.
The Indian government refused to allow drug makers to raise prices beyond limits established by the country’s list of essential medicines, the Economic Times informs us. Authorities lowered ceiling prices of 530 drugs in February.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence endorsed PTC Therapeutics’s Translarna for patients 5 years and older with Duchenne muscular dystrophy after regulators struck an access deal, PharmaTimes says.
European Union regulators approved Mylan’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Meda on the condition the newly merged company sheds businesses in around a dozen European countries, the Wall Street Journal tells us.
India’s Health Ministry has sent samples of Roche’s Avastin for testing following reports that around 30 patients complained of infection and vision damage after injections, India Today writes.
The UK’s NICE issued final draft guidance endorsing the use of Eli Lilly’s Alimta to treat patients with lung cancer, PharmaTimes reports.