PHARMACY

Eisai completes $3 billion-plus tender offer on MGI Pharma shares

BY Adam Kraemer

TOKYO Eisai Co., a research-based human health care company, has announced the completion of the offer by subsidiary Jaguar Acquisition Corp. to purchase all outstanding shares of the common stock of MGI Pharma for $41 per share.

As of midnight EST on Friday, Jan. 25, the expiration date of the offering period, approximately 76.5 million MGI shares had been validly tendered into the offer, representing over 93.8 percent of the outstanding shares, for a total of approximately $3.1 billion.

As the final step of the acquisition process, Eisai intends to effect a short-form merger of Jaguar into MGI, in which any remaining shareholders—with the exception of those who have chosen to exercise dissenters’ rights—will also receive the $41 per share paid in the offer. Following the merger, MGI will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of subsidiary Eisai Corp. of North America and the MGI common stock will be delisted from the NASDAQ market.

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ACC speaks out in favor of waiting for results of further Vytorin trials

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON With all the fallout from the ENHANCE trial regarding Merck and Schering-Plough’s cholesterol drug Vytorin, there is one positive show of support for the drug and it comes from the American College of Cardiology, according to published reports.

The ACC issued a statement saying that “major clinical decisions [should] not be made on the basis of the ENHANCE study alone [as it deserves] serious thought and follow-up.” The overall incidence rates of cardiac events were nearly identical between both treatment groups and both were generally well tolerated, the statement said, so “there should be no reason for patients to panic.” It added that the ENHANCE trial “is an imaging study and not a clinical-outcome study,” and that conclusions should not be made until three large clinical-outcome trials are presented within the next two to three years.

But, there are still many who feel the drug is unsafe and has been since it was put on the market. Sidney Wolfe, director of Health Research Group at Public Citizen, said that “we first warned against using Vytorin in December 2004” and suggested people should wait at least seven years before taking the treatment as it was not a “breakthrough” drug.

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GSK, TB Alliance renew partnership for tuberculosis treatment

BY Drew Buono

LONDON and NEW YORK GlaxoSmithKline and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development have renewed their joint research program that is designed to improve the treatment of tuberculosis. The collaboration began in 2004 and currently includes some projects that may produce new medicines to attack Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis.

The deal has been extended for an additional three years to research tuberculosis and malaria. So far under the deal, the collaboration has seen two drug discovery projects, out of five, in non-clinical studies to have potential benefits in fighting persistent forms of mycobacterium tuberculosis and thereby offer better chances of shortening treatment duration, which currently takes about six months to complete.

“We are encouraged by the success of our pioneering work with GSK, which has nearly doubled the number of TB drug discovery projects in our pipeline,” said Mel Spigelman, TB Alliance director of research and development. “This collaboration is advancing the TB Alliance’s mission to develop revolutionary, faster and better TB treatment regimens by exploring new ways to attack the disease.”

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