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Castellani successfully can fill Tauzin’s shoes

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT It’s been said many times that the people you know are as important as what you know. In the case of Billy Tauzin, former president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, this adage was especially true, considering his former career as a member of Congress.

(THE NEWS: PhRMA names new president, CEO. For the full story, click here)

PhRMA’s new president and CEO, John Castellani, doesn’t have the political background of Tauzin, former Democratic congressman from Louisiana, but he has something pretty close in the form of a nine-year career as leader of the Business Roundtable, an influential lobbying group of corporate chief executives from various industries.

And it appears PhRMA made a wise choice. Politico quoted an unnamed senior industry official as saying the lobby sought a “non-partisan, manager type” to head the group while pointing out his relationships with members of Congress in both major parties. David Brennan, head of the organization’s search committee and president and CEO of AstraZeneca, pointed out Castellani’s experience in coalition building and “strong reputation of working across the political divide.”

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‘Preschool is Cool: Counting with Elmo’ arrives on DVD this fall

BY Allison Cerra

BURBANK, Calif. Warner Home Video is bringing Sesame Street’s beloved resident, Elmo, to DVD.

“Preschool is Cool: Counting with Elmo” supports such early math skills as number recognition, counting and enumeration with the help of Elmo and his friends.

“Warner Home Video is very happy to introduce ‘Counting with Elmo, ‘our newest DVD title in Sesame Street’s new DVD set ‘Preschool is Cool,’” said Amit Desai, WHV VP family animation and partner brands marketing. “Counting is an essential tool that every preschooler must learn and there’s nobody better than the beloved Elmo and Professor Grover to show kids how fun and exciting numbers can be.”

“Preschool is Cool: Counting with Elmo” is available on DVD Sept. 14, for a suggested retail priceof $14.98.

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Keryx gets orphan-drug designation for neuroblastoma treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration has given special designation to an investigational treatment for a cancer of the nervous system that affects children.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals announced Wednesday that it received orphan drug designation for KRX-0401 (perifosine), a treatment for neuroblastoma. No FDA-approved treatments exist for the disease.

The FDA gives orphan drug designation to investigational treatments for rare illnesses or those affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the United States. The designation entitles the drug maker to seven years’ market exclusivity following approval, tax benefits and exemption from certain application filing fees.

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