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Rise and shine, everyone, another busy day is on the way. This morning is getting off to a fabulous start, though, as a delightfully warm sun is enveloping the subdued Pharmalot campus, where the official mascot is snoozing and the leaves are ever so slowly starting to drop off the towering pin oaks outside. As always, we are quaffing some cups of stimulation — butter pecan is our choice du jour — and assembling some tidbits for your pleasure. So, time to get cracking, especially since we must prepare for a chat today about biosimilars. Hope you have a smashing day, and do stay in touch. We always enjoy your tips and insights. …

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted to approve three bills to stop practices drug makers use to raise prices and fend off competition, including a bill to ban the tactic of paying generic companies to delay bringing cheaper versions of their medicines to market, Reuters reports. While the votes were not unanimous, they passed the committee by a big margin. One measure would stop a practice called product hopping in which a minor tweak is made to the formula of a medication to win a new patent and therefore a longer period of exclusivity.


Merck (MRK) agreed to pay about $11.5 billion for Accleron Pharma (XLRN) as the big drug maker looks to beef up its product portfolio with treatments for rare diseases, The Wall Street Journal writes. Acceleron’s crown jewel is an experimental drug for pulmonary arterial hypertension, a disease caused by high pressure in the blood vessels leading from the heart to the lungs. The condition leads to less oxygen in the blood. The drug, called sotatercept, promises to be the first that does not just treat symptoms and slow down the disease, but could potentially stop it.

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