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BioSante to re-initiate prostate cancer vaccine program

BY Alaric DeArment

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. Drug maker BioSante Pharmaceuticals has restarted a development program for a prostate cancer vaccine, the company said Monday.

The company announced plans to begin treating prostate cancer patients using the GVAX Prostate vaccine in a phase 2 clinical trial at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center beginning in fourth quarter 2010.

“We have worked with GVAX Prostate Cancer Vaccine for several years and believe there is a great potential to develop a treatment regimen that will be a significant benefit to men who suffer with prostate cancer,” Johns Hopkins associate professor Charles Drake said in a statement on behalf of BioSante.

The news comes days after the Food and Drug Administration approved Dendreon Corp.’s prostate cancer vaccine Provenge (sipuleucel-T), which works by modifying the patient’s own immune cells.

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PBM improvement: That’s all, Foulkes

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The news that Helena Foulkes will lead PBM product innovation and marketing at CVS Caremark is important, as Foulkes, the ExtraCare architect, is widely regarded as one of the most visionary marketers in modern drug store retailing.

(THE NEWS: Foulkes to lead PBM product innovation, marketing at CVS Caremark. For the full story, click here)

The company has one of the largest and most successful retail loyalty card programs in the country with more than 64 million active ExtraCare cardholders. Now Foulkes is bringing her considerable talents and creative vision to a side of the business that, executives have admitted, could benefit from a stronger, clearer message to payers.

Aside from generating total revenues that rose 13% to a record $98.7 billion in 2009 and income from continuing operations that climbed nearly 11% to $3.7 billion, several highlights fiscal 2009 included — but certainly was not limited to — the repositioning of its sales message to focus first on its PBM capabilities. As reported by Drug Store News in late 2009, CVS Caremark acknowledged a need to fine-tune its messaging to the payer community.

"Our message early on was not clear, to be honest. It was not simple for benefit managers to understand," CVS Caremark chairman, president and CEO Tom Ryan had told analysts during an earnings call. "It focused a little too much on the retail side of the business as opposed to a coordinated effort."

The story may have resonated with CEOs in the corner offices of many of the companies CVS Caremark was pitching its integrated model to, but for the human resources execs and benefit managers who make key decisions around plan design, the larger message was getting lost in translation.

Based on Foulkes’ track record, you would have to say she is more than up to the task.

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Ingles Markets’ Q2 sales increase while net income drops

BY Allison Cerra

ASHEVILLE, N.C. A southeastern supermarket chain reported on Friday a 6% jump in its second-quarter net sales.

Ingles Markets said its net sales increased $47.8 million to $837 million from the year-ago period, while gross profit for second quarter 2010 increased 2.6% to $185.9 million, an increase of $4.8 million, compared with the second quarter of last fiscal year.

Meanwhile, the chain’s net income totaled $5.6 million, a 28.2% drop compared with the year-ago period. Net income, as a percentage of sales, was 0.7% for second quarter 2010, and 1% for second quarter 2009.

CEO Robert P. Ingle stated, “In this challenging economic and competitive environment we continue to focus on growth in sales and customer traffic. We’re experiencing success in both those areas even though it’s not yet reflected in our bottom line.”

As of March 27, Ingles operated 202 stores in six states.

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