PHARMACY

Bancroft steps in as Bristol-Myers Squibb’s acting CFO

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The former VP finance for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.’s global biopharmaceutical business has been appointed as the company’s acting CFO, Bristol announced Monday.

Charles Bancroft will assume the position on Jan. 1 and continue to report to president and COO Lamberto Andreotti, following the planned departure of CFO and EVP Jean-Marc Huet at the end of this year.

“Jean-Marc has indicated to me his desire to return to Europe, and we wish him every success,” Bristol chairman and CEO James Cornelius said in a statement. “The board of directors and I are grateful to Jean-Marc for his strategic work in rapidly and successfully solidifying our balance sheet, his focus on increasing our cash position to nearly $10 billion through a series of important transactions and his leadership of continuous improvement initiatives, which have greatly accelerated our biopharma transformation.”

Bancroft began working for Bristol in 1984 and has served in various finance positions with the company, including in other countries.

“Charlie has a wide range of technical and operational finance experiences, including strong financial stewardship, business partnering and leadership capabilities which will serve him well in his new role,” Cornelius said. “We have a strong finance team who will maintain our focus on delivering shareholder value.”

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Biogen Idec, Genentech release study results for rheumatoid arthritis treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. An investigational treatment for rheumatoid arthritis was successful in improving the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial released Friday.

Biogen Idec and Roche subsidiary Genentech announced results of a phase 3 study of ocrelizumab combined with methotrexate in patients who had not responded adequately to methotrexate alone.

“Patients living with a debilitating disease like rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from additional treatment options,” Biogen Idec VP and chief medical officer for rheumatology David Hagerty said. “We look forward to seeing the results of our ongoing phase 3 rheumatoid arthritis trials with ocrelizumab.”

The two companies expect to have results of three other trials of the drug in the first half of 2010.

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Sandoz launches topical psoriasis treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. Sandoz has launched its version of a topical drug used to treat psoriasis of the scalp, the Swiss generic drug maker announced Thursday.

The company launched calcipotriene solution in the 0.005% strength, a synthetic vitamin D3 derivative and generic version of Leo Pharma’s Dovonex Scalp Solution. The drug is used to treat moderately severe chronic psoriasis of the scalp.

Branded and generic versions of Dovonex had sales of $12.2 million during the 12-month period ended in September, according to IMS Health.

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