PHARMACY

Arena’s Lorcaserin passes safety test, but still needs long-term data

BY Drew Buono

SAN DIEGO Lorcaserin, Arena Pharmaceuticals’ experimental obesity drug has passed a safety test, but will need more time to lessen worries about a potential side effect.

The major potential side effect is heart valve damage, which was the reason why Wyeth’s Redux, lorcaserin’s parent drug, was pulled off the market.  The difference between the two drugs, Arena said, is that the cheimical formula of Redux was hitting too many other biological receptors on top of the one that reduces appetite.

The company does not expect to see a difference in heart valve problems in trials between the drug and placebo.  The future of the drug will be determined as more studies are taken and as the drug goes further in trials.

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House, Senate pass patent reform bills; industry opposes

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The House of Representatives has passed the Patent Reform Act by a vote of 220-175.

Along with its Senate counterpart, S. 1145, industry leaders have viewed the bill as a means of making the pharmaceutical industry a “much more friendly place for infringers,” said Biotechnology Industry Organization president and chief executive officer Jim Greenwood.

The organization opposes the bill because, it “puts a risk a whole host of innovators,” said Greenwood.  The Bush administration has concerns over the bill regarding limiting court discretion over awards and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association also has concerns over the bill according to president and chief executive officer Kathleen Jaeger.

The administration on Monday had criticized a provision changing how damages are calculated in infringement suits, criticizing the limiting of courts in determining damages. “Making this change to a reasonably well-functioning patent legal system is unwarranted and risks reducing the rewards from innovation—a result that would undercut the other useful reforms in this bill,” it said in a statement.

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Novelos patents proprietary oxidized glutathione structure

BY Drew Buono

NEWTOWN, Mass. Novelos Therapuetics announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had issued a patent number for a compound named NOV-002.

“This most recent addition to our IP portfolio further strengthens Novelos’ proprietary position in the oxidized glutathione field in general and, in particular, around the structure of NOV-002,” said Christopher Pazoles, Ph.D, vice president of research and development of Novelos. “It will also allow us to expand our pipeline to include additional compounds based on this structural motif.”

This is Novelos lead compound in Phase 3 trial for non-small cell lung cancer.  Novelos is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of remedies for cancer and hepatitis.

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