PHARMACY

Alkermes to buy Elan Drug Technologies

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. — Alkermes will buy Irish drug maker Elan’s drug formulation and manufacturing business for $960 million, the two companies said Monday.

Alkermes will buy Elan Drug Technologies and incorporate the combined company in Ireland, naming it Alkermes PLC. Alkermes said the acquisition would give it an edge in treating central nervous system disorders and expected to have diverse revenue streams from 25 commercialized drugs.

“The merger will be financially transformative and create a profitable, global biopharmaceutical company with a diversified CNS product portfolio and a strong foundation for growth,” Alkermes CEO Richard Pops said. “Both companies have a proven track record as innovators.”

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Study: Allergy rhinitis symptoms linked to sleep disruption

BY Alaric DeArment

HORSHAM, Pa. — Patients with seasonal allergies are more likely to experience difficulty sleeping, according to results of a new survey conducted by Teva Respiratory.

The survey, the "Nasal Allergy Survey Assessing Limitiations 2010," was timed to coincide with National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. The survey found that people with nasal allergy symptoms — which peak during the spring months, particularly April and May, and include repeated sneezing, post-nasal drip, nasal congestion and headache — often experience such sleep disturbances as difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night.

Results of NASL 2010 suggested that the fatigue nasal allergy patients experience may be related to disruption of sleep, which also may lead to their feeling irritable and “miserable.” The survey’s results were recently presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

“The negative impact that allergic rhinitis symptoms can have on a patient’s quality of sleep is considerable, as it not only affects them physically but also emotionally,” Gary Gross of the Dallas Allergy & Asthma Center said on behalf of Teva. “As allergy season is upon us, it’s important for patients suffering from allergic rhinitis symptoms like post-nasal drip to understand how these symptoms can negatively affect their quality of life.”

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Report: Number of drug approvals by FDA may increase

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration expects to approve an increasing number of drugs, according to published reports.

Reuters quoted FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock as saying the number of drugs approved gradually could increase, already having reached a “nadir.” The report noted that 12 drugs had won approval this year so far, and Woodcock speculated that the agency would approve more than the 21 it approved last year.

Indeed, such big drug companies as Pfizer, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb have been plowing money into research and development over the last couple of years in anticipation of the patent cliff, when several blockbuster drugs are expected to lose patent protection and face generic competition. They have made particularly heavy investments in the development of specialty drugs — treatments for rare, serious and chronic conditions, such as cancer, autoimmune disorders and genetic diseases — especially biologics.

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