PHARMACY

Biogen Idec, Isis to develop spinal muscular atrophy drug

BY Alaric DeArment

WESTON, Mass. — Biogen Idec and Isis Pharmaceuticals will work together on a drug invented by Isis for spinal muscular atrophy, the two companies said.

According to the companies, SMA is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality and causes muscle atrophy and weakness, occurring in 1-in-10,000 births. While children with the condition appear normal at birth, symptoms can develop within a few months and significantly shorten their lifespan. The drug, ISIS-SMNRx, is designed to compensate for the underlying genetic defect that causes SMA.

Under the agreement, Biogen Idec will pay Isis $29 million upfront, plus up to $45 million in milestone payments. In addition, Biogen Idec will have the option to license the drug until the completion of the first successful phase-2/3 trial, while Isis could receive up to $225 million in license fee and regulatory milestone payments, as well as royalties on potential sales.


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PHARMACY

Medtronic launches remote glucose-monitoring system

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Medtronic has launched a blood-glucose monitor that allows remote monitoring of blood-glucose levels, the company said.

The Minneapolis-based device maker announced the Food and Drug Administration approval and launch of the mySentry remote glucose monitor, which allows a parent or caregiver to monitor a patient’s blood-sugar levels from another room by communicating with the MiniMed Paradigm Real-Time Revel glucose-monitoring system.

The new device allows caregivers to see real-time insulin pump status and glucose trends and hear alerts while an adult or child with diabetes sleeps in another room. For example, if a child’s glucose levels are falling in the middle of the night, an alarm will allow them to take action. According to one study, about 75% of all episodes of abnormally low blood sugar in children, also known as hypoglycemia, occur at night.

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National Diabetes Education Program gets new chairman

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A joint program of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new chairman.

John Buse of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine was appointed chair of the National Diabetes Education Program for a two-year term on Jan. 1. Buse succeeds Martha Funnell, who is a researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, as well as co-director of the Behavioral, Clinical, and Health Systems Intervention Research Core at the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center.

NDEP has engaged public and private partnerships to improve diabetes management and outcomes, to promote early diagnosis and to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes in the United States and its territories. The program was established in 1997.

"Our nation is facing a diabetes crisis. The disease is affecting more people and at younger ages. The NDEP plays a unique role in bringing together diverse stakeholders to foster cooperation and collaboration to translate research-proven approaches to prevention and therapy into action by patients, providers and communities," said Buse.


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