PHARMACY

Biocon banks on pending biosimilar legislation

BY Drew Buono

BANGALORE, India Biocon, a biotechnology company, is turning its focus to biosimilars to market in Europe and the United States, according to business-standard.com.

The company will soon launch two of its new generic versions of biotech molecules, G-CSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells) and streptokinase (a cardiac drug used against clotting of blood) in the domestic market.

The launch of biosimilars in the U.S. and Europe is planned over the next two to three years, by which time proper laws would evolve for biosimilars in these regions. Biocon is in the process of registering with the regulatory authorities in the developed markets for the launch of Insugen, the company’s version of insulin.

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Eisai announces new hires and appointments

BY Drew Buono

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. Eisai Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Eisai Co., today announced new hires and appointments within the company, which produces such drugs as the acid-reflux medication Aciphex and Aricept, which is used to treat mild, moderate and severe Alzheimer’s disease.

Sunitha Ramamurthy has joined Eisai Corporation of North America as compliance director of Research and Development. Christine Drobot has joined the company as counsel for Employment and Research and Development. Barbara Sudovar has joined Eisai Inc. as director of U.S. Market Research.

Steven Brown has been promoted to director of Marketing Finance and will be responsible for financial reporting and business planning of product line P&Ls. Prior to this promotion, Steven was associate director of Marketing Finance for two years and marketing finance manager on the Aricept brand for two years. Terry Paluga has been promoted to specialty district manager where she will oversee the Baltimore Specialty District.

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Study shows Zocor could increase incidence of sleep disorders

BY Drew Buono

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. A new study showed that patients on the cholesterol drug Zocor were three times as likely to suffer from insomnia than those who took another cholesterol drug Pravachol and those taking a placebo, according to Bloomberg.com.

Insomnia is listed as a possible side effect for all cholesterol-lowering drugs. Merck spokesman Ron Rogers said the company found no significant effects on sleep in its own insomnia studies comparing Zocor with pravastatin, the generic of Pravachol and a placebo. Nor did the company see sleep disruption as a side effect in two other studies testing the drug’s effectiveness in thousands of patients.

The National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, funded the study. Zocor was the world’s second-best-selling cholesterol pill, behind Pfizer’s Lipitor, before it lost patent protection in June 2006.

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