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Hello, everyone, and how are you today? A bunch of clouds are hovering over the serene Pharmalot campus this morning, but a delicious cool breeze is also wafting by. We take what we can get, as they say. Speaking of which, it is also time to get a cup of stimulation and dive in to the latest menu of tidbits. And so, here they are. As always, we wish you a productive and fun-filled day. Do your best and, of course, keep in touch …

Immunotherapy may offer new hope to cancer patients, but is also creating new challenges by complicating clinical trial designs, Xconomy reports. Researchers worry patients who want access to a treatment in the headlines will sign up for a clinical trial but drop out if they are assigned to the control group. Patients in cancer drug trials often know whether they receiving an experimental drug or the control treatment, and blinding many studies is futile.

Doctors are missing an opportunity to treat overweight patients with prescription diet pills in order to reduce the odds of developing diabetes, MedPage Today writes, citing a new retrospective analysis. Since most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, treating obesity should be a first step, the researchers wrote. However, as STAT recently noted, many physicians appear reluctant to prescribe the latest crop of obesity drugs.


Here’s what Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told Bloomberg News about his daughter, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, when asked about the EpiPens controversy: “The only thing I know about from my daughter is if someone got a hold of the company and says we can’t afford ’em, we need one, she would give them one. That’s all. I know that. I know her well enough to know that would happen.”

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization is spending between $1 million and $5 million on a new advertising campaign to revive the damaged reputation of the biopharma industry, Bloomberg News writes. Called “Innovation Saves,” the focus is on new drugs that can save both lives and costs to the health care system. “We’re under pressure and scrutiny like never before,” says BIO CEO Jim Greenwood.


The US Food and Drug Administration will review  Merck’s Keytruda immunotherapy cancer drug as a first-line treatment for patients with the most common form of lung cancer, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Iran’s plan to invest $2 billion in a major biotech complex in South Korea has stalled despite eased foreign currency transaction rules, the Korea Herald informs us.

AstraZeneca has launched a research initiative to investigate the link between respiratory diseases and changes in the way genes are expressed, PMLive tells us.

Former Novartis Pharmaceuticals head David Epstein says optimism is justified for cell and gene therapy work despite the recent move by Novartis to trim its investment, according to Fierce Biotech.

An experimental three-in-one inhaled drug from GlaxoSmithKline significantly cut flare-ups in patients with chronic lung disease in a clinical trial, Reuters reports.

Allergan acquired almost all of the assets of RetroSense, which is developing a gene therapy for patients suffering from a form of blindness, for a $60 million upfront payment, STAT writes.

Cigna will not able to sign new customers for its private Medicare plans during the fall enrollment season this year because of an investigation by US regulators, Bloomberg News reports.

The European Commission expanded uses for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Orencia to include patients with highly active and progressive rheumatoid arthritis who have not been previously treated with methotrexate, PharmaTimes says.