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Decision Resources projects Vidaza will remain clinical gold standard through 2013

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. Market research firm Decision Resources said Monday that a drug made by Celgene would remain its clinical gold standard for the next three years for underproduction of blood cells that often is a precursor to leukemia.

Celgene’s Vidaza (azacitidine) will remain the clinical gold standard through 2013 for myelodysplastic disorders, the firm said in its report, Myelodysplastic Syndromes (High-Risk): Azacitidine’s Position as Market Leader Will Not Be Usurped. However, Eisai’s Dacogen (decitabine) comes close to displacing Vidaza, though Decision Resources said its lack of strong survival data and other factors would prevent it from doing so.

“Celgene’s Vidaza is the only drug for high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes that offers a confirmed benefit in overall survival and the first hypomethylating agent to reach the U.S. and European markets,” Decision Resources analyst Andrew Merron said. “Despite this efficacy achievement, surveyed hematologists indicate that there is still considerable unmet need in improving patient survival.”

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Genentech seeks expanded approval for Herceptin

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Genentech hopes to get one of its breast cancer drugs approved as a treatment for stomach cancer, the biotech company said Friday.

Genentech, part of Swiss drug maker Roche, applied for Food and Drug Administration approval of Herceptin (trastuzumab) plus chemotherapy as a treatment for adenocarcinoma of the stomach that includes the protein human epidermal factor receptor 2, or HER2, which Herceptin is supposed to inhibit. Cancers that include HER2 tend to be more aggressive than those that don’t.

“This application reflects our commitment to developing more personalized medicines for people with cancer,” Genentech EVP global development and chief medical officer Hal Barron said. “By using diagnostics to help identify the right patients for our medicines, it is our hope that Herceptin used with chemotherapy will become the first targeted option for advanced HER2-positive stomach cancer.”

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Local Hy-Vee earns LEED certification

BY Allison Cerra

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded a Hy-Vee supermarket in Madison, Wis., with LEED Gold certification.

Mike Smith, director of real estate and sustainability for Hy-Vee, said the company is pleased to have earned the second-highest level certification on its first LEED application. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a project meets international standards for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings. The system promotes a “whole building” approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“Hy-Vee’s long-standing commitment to environmental responsibility is reflected in every aspect of our store operations,” Smith said. “By designing and building stores that meet the highest standards for sustainability, we are fulfilling our company’s mission of making lives easier, healthier and happier.”

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