PHARMACY

Calistoga Pharmaceuticals appoints new CBO

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE A company that develops drugs for treating inflammatory diseases and cancer has appointed a new chief business officer.

Seattle-based Calistoga Pharmaceuticals announced Wednesday that it had appointed Clifford Stocks to the post. Stocks will be responsible for corporate and business development, finance and legal affairs.

Stocks has worked in the biotech industry for more than 20 years, including 15 years at ICOS Corp., where he served as executive officer and VP business development and took part in the company’s joint venture with Eli Lilly & Co. to launch the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis. He also serves on the board of Shanghai, China-based biotech company Sinova Pharmaceuticals.

“Cliff is an accomplished, skilled executive with extensive experience in corporate strategy and a wide range of business development activities,” said Calistoga CEO Carol Gallagher. “He will be a valuable addition to our team as we advance our clinical compounds and assess strategic partnership opportunities.”

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Patent Reform Act of 2009 gets mixed response from drug industry organizations

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. A bill that would reduce penalties for companies that infringe on others’ patents has drawn responses from the organizations representing the generic and branded pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

The Patent Reform Act of 2009, introduced in the Senate by Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and companion legislation introduced in the House by Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Lamar Smith, R-Texas, would allow innovators suing for patent infringement to collect only damages proportionate to the actual amount of money lost.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association supported the legislation, albeit with the hope that it would benefit the generics industry.

“As Congress considers the Patent Reform Act of 2009, we encourage members to protect the integrity of the patent process, while also ensuring that Americans have access to affordable generic medicines,” GPhA president and CEO Kathleen Jaeger stated. “Consumers should benefit from patent reform, not pay the price. We echo Sen. Leahy’s position that patent reform is ‘about jobs, it is about innovation and it is about consumers,’ and we are committed to ensuring that reforms do not have the unintended consequences of erecting any barriers to the introduction of generic medicines that help consumers save money, particularly in these difficult economic times.”

On the other hand, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, while supporting patent reform legislation, opposed attempts to limit damages awarded in patent-infringement lawsuits.

“By lowering the penalties for those found by a court to have infringed another’s patent, the bill would reduce the value of the patents that are the lifeblood of America’s innovative business sectors, which depend on intellectual property protection,” PhRMA SVO Ken Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson said a reliable patent system was needed for pharmaceutical and biotech companies that must invest, on average, 10 to 15 years and $1 billion to develop a new drug.

“We are concerned that the proposed framework will put this important incentive – and with it, the jobs that are provided by innovative industries – at risk,” Johnson said.

Meanhwhile, the Biotechnology Industry Organization also welcomed the legislation.

“While BIO continues to have concerns with some of the specific language in the bills introduced today, we understand that today’s introductions are just the beginning of the legislative process,” BIO president Jim Greenwood said in a March 3 statement. “We look forward to working in good faith with the chairmen, other senators and representatives and other stakeholders to achieve positive, meaningful and consensus-oriented reforms to the patient system – reforms that will further enhance patent quality and spur innovation and economic growth here at home.”

GPhA also expressed hope that the bill would not dilute the inequitable conduct doctrine, which penalizes companies that seek to cheat, mislead or deceive the Patent and Trademark Office in order to retain their patents by allowing courts to render their patents unenforceable. While not going into specifics, PhRMA called for “reform” of the doctrine, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, though in April 2005, members of the NAS said they supported eliminating or “significantly modifying” it in order to increase the predictability of patent dispute outcomes.

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National e-prescribing operator undergoes name change

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A company that operates a national electronic prescribing network announced a name change Tuesday.

SureScripts-RxHub will be known as Surescripts. To mark the occasion, the company launched a Web site, the E-Prescribing Resource Center, which provides information about e-prescribing to pharmacists, doctors, payers, hospitals, policymakers and software vendors.

Resources on the Web site include a database that lists pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers and payers that belong to the Surescripts network, as well as which physicians and pharmacies e-prescribe and a tool for gauging a software company’s support for e-prescribing.

“We are right in the middle of it all, enabling e-prescribing every second of every day in communities throughout the country,” Surescripts spokesman Rob Cronin said in a statement. “That gives us a perspective and understanding that not only is unique, but obligates us to share our deep knowledge of e-prescribing in the most effective and efficient way we know.”

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