GlaxoSmithKline has signed a collaboration agreement with McGill University focused on developing a treatment for cystic fibrosis that corrects the dysfunction caused by the mutated CFTR gene. Co-sponsored by the Canadian Institues of Health Research, the work will build on the McGill team’s research on the CFTR protein, and their previous identification of molecules that appear to restore normal CFTR function. GSK hopes that by the end of the two-year collaboration the research will have generated a compound ready for investigation.
Monthly Archives: January 2011
H3 Biomedicine announced that it has launched research and development operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. H3 Biomedicine will undertake research into oncology treatments. Eisai has pledged up to $200 million in research funding to H3 Biomedicine, as well as additional support for the clinical development of H3 Biomedicine programs.
Novartis has sued AstraZeneca’s MedImmune subsidiary, Biogen Idec and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, alleging some drugs they make infringe a 1997 US patent for diagnostic gene sequences. The complaint targets AstraZeneca’s Synagis respiratory treatment; Biogen’s Tysabri for multiple sclerosis; and Alexion’s Soliris, used to treat a life-threatening form of anemia. Novartis acquired the patent when it purchased Chiron in April 2006, according to the complaint.
GlaxoSmithKline and Actelion have announced that they are discontinuing development on almorexant, an insomnia drug,following a review of data from clinical studies on the drug’s tolerability. GSK and Actelion did not provide details on the results of those studies. The companies said they “remain committed to conducting further research to better understand the potential of orexin receptor antagonism in sleep disorders and other indications”. The announcement comes three years after GSK licensed the rights to almorexant from Actelion. The deal, in which GSK paid $147 million upfront, could have led to total payments of $3 billion to Actelion if almorexant had won regulatory approval and met sales goals.
Bayer has agreed to form a joint venture to distribute pharmaceuticals in India with Cadila Healthcare. Each company will hold 50% of the shares in the venture, which will be called Bayer Zydus Pharma, and have equal representation on the board. About 600 employees from both companies will work for the venture. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
Canada’s Angiotech has announced that it will file for bankruptcy protection. The move is expected to result in the elimination of Angiotech’s $250 million in senior subordinated notes and obligations. The company has also arranged for $25 million in debtor-in-possession loans from Wells Fargo Bank.
Endo Pharmaceuticals has announced that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Orion Corporation for the discovery, development and commercialization of oncology drugs. The companies to bring forward a total of eight discovery phase candidates by combining an equal number of programs. The collaboration also allows for both companies to exclusively license the others’ development-ready programs at pre-determined stages and share all development costs.
Under the agreement Orion will have marketing rights in Europe, including Russia, while Endo will retain marketing rights for North America. The companies will pay cross royalties to each other on sales from their respective territories, and will mutually decide the most effective method to maximize product opportunities in rest of world territories after phase II and share ROW revenues. With the establishment of the partnership Endo has exercised its option to license the lead asset in the collaboration discovered at Orion, an androgen-receptor antagonist for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, which will be developed jointly by both companies for approval globally. It will be entering into phase one clinical trials in the near future.
Shares in Sanofi-Aventis dropped by 5% after the company said that a Phase III trial evaluating breast cancer drug iniparib did not meet its primary goal. Sanofi said the trial did not meet the criteria for significance for overall survival or progression-free survival, but that there was an improvement for patients in the second- and third-line setting. Iniparib is being developed with BiPar Sciences. BiPar Sciences is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sanofi-Aventis.
Actelion and GlaxoSmithKline have stopped late-stage development of the experimental almorexant insomnia pill because of concern that patients wouldn’t be able to tolerate the medicine. The termination of the program follows a review of study data. The two companies said they will continue to work together on developing similar new drugs for use in conditions including sleep disorders.
Swedish Orphan Biovitrum has announced a Removab distribution agreement with Fresenius Biotech. Under the agreement Swedish Orphan Biovitrum will distribute Removab exclusively in 15 European countries over seven years. Removab was granted marketing authorization by the European Commission in April 2009 for the treatment of malignant ascites associated with cancer and has been launched in Germany and Austria so far. The territories in which Sobi will distribute Removab are Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.