PHARMACY

Datamonitor: Melanoma cases expected to double

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Cases of the potentially deadly skin cancer melanoma are expected to almost double before the end of the decade, according to a new report by research firm Datamonitor.

 

Research by the company indicated that cases of melanoma could go from the 138,000 new cases expected this year to 227,000 by 2019.

 

 

“There is real opportunity for drug developers willing to invest in this market,” Datamonitor senior healthcare analyst Tom Gray said. “A significant unmet need remains for more effective drugs, which makes melanoma a popular research target.”

 

 

Current cytokines and cytotoxics have response rates of up to 25%, according to the report, which results in the high mortality rate associated with metastatic melanoma, and no breakthroughs with the drugs have been made in the last 30 years. But several treatments are in the pipeline, including Medarex’s and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s MDX-010 (ipilimumab) and PLX-4032, by Roche and Plexxikon.

 

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A1c readings may not be accurate for some ethnic groups, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The hemoglobin A1c test may not provide accurate results for elderly Asians, according to published reports about a new study.

 

The American Diabetes Association said the test works when doctors use an A1c reading of 6.5% to indicate diabetes, but the study, conducted in Singapore, found that the cutoff often misses the disease in older Asians. The study was conducted on participants between the ages of 20 and 93 years.

 

 

The study’s findings were scheduled to be presented Sunday at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, according to the reports.

 

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Valeant, Biovail to merge

BY Alaric DeArment

TORONTO U.S. drug maker Valeant and Canadian drug maker Biovail will merge, the two companies said Monday.

The combined company will carry the name Valeant Pharmaceuticals International but will have its headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario. Valeant is currently based in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Under the agreement, Valeant stockholders will receive $16.77 per share immediately before the merger’s closing and, after its closing, 1.78 shares of Biovail stock for every share of Valeant stock they own. After the merger closes, Biovail shareholders will own around 50.5% and Valeant shareholders will own 49.5% of the combined company.

Biovail is known mostly for such specialty drugs as the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL (bupropion), while Valeant’s range of branded and branded generic drugs include the acne treatment Acanya Gel (clindamycin phosphate and benzoyl peroxide).

Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson will reside in Barbados as the new CEO, while Biovail CEO Bill Wells will be nonexecutive chairman. The company’s 11-member board of directors will include five representatives from Biovail, five from Valeant and one independent Canadian resident director.

“This compelling combination will create tremendous value for stockholders of both companies as our business benefits from cost savings, greater scale, efficiencies from extending Biovail’s corporate structure and enhanced financial strength and flexibility,” Pearson said.

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