PHARMACY

AP Pharma announces financing, appoints new executives

BY Alaric DeArment

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Drug maker AP Pharma has appointed two new executives and may receive financing of up to $4.5 million, the company said Monday.

AP announced the appointment of John Whelan as president, CEO and director, and Michael Adam as SVP and COO.

It also entered into agreements with investors, including Tang Capital Partners, for a private placement of up to $4.5 million in convertible notes. Upon the closing, which is expected to happen Friday, the company will receive $1.5 million. AP plans to put the money toward winning Food and Drug Administration approval for AP530 (granisetron), a drug for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

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AstraZeneca’s thyroid cancer drug launches

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. — Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca has made the drug vandetanib available to certain thyroid cancer patients.

The drug maker announced Monday that the drug would be available to patients with medullary thyroid cancer that could not be removed surgically or that had spread to other parts of the body. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug on April 6, and it is available exclusively through the pharmacy business unit of Biologics Inc., an integrated cancer management company.

“Vandetanib is the only medicine specifically approved for patients with this rare form of cancer,” AstraZeneca VP specialty care Lisa Schoenberg said. “We believe vandetanib will be important for the community of patients and doctors who are fighting this disease.”

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RediClinic introduces Weigh Forward

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOUSTON — RediClinic, which operates 29 clinics inside H-E-B grocery stores in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, is launching in May the new Weigh Forward medically supervised weight-loss program.

Weigh Forward, which was developed in partnership with weight-loss expert David Katz, will be available starting May 16 at all 29 RediClinic locations.

"Weight management is a logical service for RediClinic to offer, as there is growing need for more effective solutions. And our grocery store venue gives us an advantage in terms of convenience and opportunity to help patients make better food choices," RediClinic’s CEO Web Golinkin said. "Weigh Forward is the first comprehensive, medically supervised weight-loss program to be delivered in a grocery store, and we believe it will set a new standard for sustained effectiveness."

The 10-week program capitalizes on RediClinic’s facilities and clinicians inside grocery stores to provide patients with information and counseling on diet/nutrition, physical activity and behavior modification. The diet/nutrition component includes weekly meal plans, with shopping lists of items that can be purchased in RediClinic’s host stores.

The behavior modification component features a proprietary system developed by Katz that identifies each patient’s individual barriers to success so that each program can be customized to help the patient overcome those barriers.

Each program also includes an initial medical evaluation and regular biometric testing to ensure that patients are improving their health while losing weight.

"With more than two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese, weight management is the most important and challenging health issue of our time," Katz added, who will serve as the program’s medical director. "Weigh Forward combines everything I have learned about weight management during 20 years of research and clinical practice with RediClinic’s unique grocery store platform to create a program that is effective, sustainable, accessible, affordable and family-friendly. It is dedicated to helping people not just lose weight, but also find health."

Weigh Forward patients can expect to lose 1 to 2 lbs. per week, and upon completion of the 10-week program will have the knowledge and skills to continue losing weight and improving their health as needed, according to RediClinic. Maintenance programs will be available for those who need ongoing support from RediClinic’s clinicians and through the program’s online resources, which include access to e-nutritionists and e-trainers.

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