Crestor gets FDA nod for atherosclerosis
LONDON Astra Zeneca’s Crestor, used to break down artery-blocking fat deposits that cause strokes and heart attacks, is the first cholesterol medication to win Food and Drug Administration clearance to be marketed as effective against atherosclerosis, London-based AstraZeneca has said.
Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease and the main cause of heart disease, the world’s biggest killer. The medicine was approved as a therapy to slow the progression of the disease, FDA spokesman Christopher Kelly told Bloomberg News.
AstraZeneca, which bought the rights to Crestor from Japan’s Shionogi & Co., received $691 million from the pill in the third quarter, up 29 percent from a year earlier. The company expects sales to increase following the FDA approval for the new use.
AstraZeneca is the U.K.’s second largest drugmaker after GlaxoSmithKline Plc.
Eisai announces new hires and appointments
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.
Study shows Zocor could increase incidence of sleep disorders
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.