PHARMACY

AmerisourceBergen posts 2.4% increase in revenue

BY Michael Johnsen

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen on Thursday posted revenue of $19.8 billion, up 2.4%, for its second quarter ended March 31.

"In the March quarter, we delivered outstanding performance on top of very strong performance last year," stated David Yost, AmerisourceBergen CEO.

"Solid results in all of our business units, combined with better than expected contributions from specialty generics drove results ahead of expectations,” added Steve Collis, AmerisourceBergen president and COO. “Our disciplined working capital management has further strengthened our balance sheet, and we continue to have excellent financial flexibility. Our results continue to demonstrate the strength of our two growth drivers: generics and specialty pharmaceuticals."

Earlier in the quarter, Yost announced his retirement. He will be succeeded by Collis.

AmerisourceBergen also updated its guidance — projecting diluted earnings per share in fiscal year 2011 will be in the range of $2.41 to $2.49.

"The key assumptions supporting the diluted earnings per share range for fiscal year 2011 are: We continue to expect revenue growth of between 2% and 4%, we now expect operating margin expansion in the mid to high single-digit basis points range, and free cash flow is now expected to be in the high end of the range of $625 million to $700 million, which includes capital expenditures now expected to be in the $175 million range,” Yost said. “We have increased our share repurchase expectation for fiscal year 2011 to $598 million from the original expectation of $400 million for the year, subject to market conditions."

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Zytiga OKed as prostate cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

HORSHAM, Pa. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new treatment for prostate cancer made by Johnson & Johnson.

Centocor Ortho Biotech, J&J’s biotech subsidiary, announced Thursday the approval of Zytiga (abiraterone acetate), a daily pill for use in combination with the corticosteroid prednisone for treating castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body in men who have received prior chemotherapy with Sanofi-Aventis’ Taxotere (docetaxel).

“This FDA approval represents a welcome new option in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer,” said Howard Scher, Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer specialist and investigator for the late-stage clinical trial of the drug. “As a clinician, I believe the efficacy and safety profile of abiraterone acetate, as well as its oral, once-daily formulation, will help address the important need for additional therapeutic choices for men living with this serious disease.”

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Health Station Networks to acquire Sentry Health Monitors

BY Alaric DeArment

SALT LAKE CITY — Health Station Networks will acquire “substantially all” of the assets of Sentry Health Monitors, which owns and operates more than 20,000 health monitors in pharmacies and other locations in the United States and Canada previously owned by Lifeclinic International, under a binding letter of intent.

HSNI — owned by a consortium of strategic partners from the health-and-wellness and digital media industries, and led by former Sony Pictures Entertainment executive Kenneth Williams — expected the deal to close next month. Sentry Health will continue under the leadership of CEO Andrew Bebbington. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Our country is in a healthcare crisis, and SHM’s network of health monitors can be utilized to build effective health-and-wellness solutions,” Williams said. “Our goal at HSNI is to accelerate this transition to the new health monitor platform and to provide more effective health risk assessment and empowerment for individuals and organizations.”

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