Hello, folks, how are you doing today? There is a spot of rain falling on the Pharmalot campus, but our spirits remains sunny, nonetheless. After all, as the Morning Mayor taught us — every brand new day should be unwrapped like a precious gift. So while you tug on the ribbon, here are a few tidbits to help you along your journey. As for us, we are about to enter a series of meetings, deadlines, and the like. So we wish you a productive day….
Novartis is dissolving a research group that has been working on CAR-T, a cutting-edge therapy to treat cancer, according to Endpoints. The head of the cell and gene therapies unit, Usman “Oz” Azam, wrote in an email that “things don’t always work out as envisioned.” What are the ramifications? “It appears to be a major shift away from large-scale investment in the broader space.” writes Piper Jaffray analyst Josh Schimmer. “As one of the leading companies in this area, the implications for the field are still unclear.”
Mylan increased its advertising spending on the EpiPen by 357 percent over five years, while at the same time, hiked the price of the allergy auto-injector by 179 percent, Medical Marketing & Media reports. The drug maker spent $43 million on so-called branded ad spending for the EpiPen last year, down slightly from $48.9 million in 2014, but up significantly from $9.4 million in 2011, according to data from Kantar Media.
Mylan put a special incentive plan in place more than two years ago that rewards executives if they hit aggressive profit targets, the Wall Street Journal writes. In early 2014, the drug maker’s board approved a one-time award for more than 100 employees that hinged on more than doubling the company’s adjusted per-share earnings over a five-year period ending in 2018.
The US Food and Drug Administration issued its most serious safety warning about combining prescription painkillers with certain anxiety medications, STAT writes. Andrew Kolodny, who heads Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, told the Wall Street Journal that heightened warnings will raise awareness, but that the FDA should place upper-dose restrictions and time limits on the use of opioid painkillers more broadly.
Novo Nordisk’s long-serving Chief Executive, Lars Rebien Sorensen, will leave the drug maker earlier than expected, Reuters tells us. The shift comes as the world’s largest insulin maker faces increased competition in the US market, where it generates about half its revenues. As of January 2017, Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, currently executive vice president and head of corporate development, will become the new CEO.
India’s Central Drug Standards Control Organization plans to recruit 500 more drug inspectors in the coming year and double its staff by the end of 2017, according to PharmaBiz. The goal of the certification program is to tighten quality standards in its domestic drug industry. The move comes following a string of embarrassing violations of good manufacturing practices that has sullied India’s reputation overseas.