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Fans for the Cure partners with Walgreens on prostate cancer awareness baseball tour

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure on Wednesday announced that it once again has teamed with Walgreens to increase awareness about prostate cancer in baseball ballparks across the United States. For the second year, Fans for the Cure and Walgreens are sponsoring a Baseball Road Trip, designed to strike out prostate cancer by encouraging men to "visit your doctor to check for prostate cancer, get your PSA score and stay in the game."

The road trips kicks off on Father’s Day, June 17.

"We’re humbled by the ongoing support that our charity is receiving from Minor League Baseball, as well as Walgreens," stated Ed Randall, CEO Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure. "The work being done in dozens of ballparks this summer to educate men about prostate cancer awareness will promote better health, as well as save lives. Many men are unaware that a simple blood test can help a doctor detect prostate cancer in its early stages, when it can usually be cured."

To view a complete listing of ballparks hosting prostate cancer awareness events, go to http://fans4thecure.org/calendar.

 

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Merck releases positive phase-3 data regarding promising insomnia remedy suvorexant

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — Merck on Wednesday released new data from two pivotal Phase III efficacy trials for suvorexant, the investigational medicine Merck is developing for the treatment of insomnia.

Merck expects to file a new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. If approved, suvorexant would be the first medicine approved in a new class of medicines, called orexin receptor antagonists, for use in patients with difficulty falling or staying asleep. Merck anticipates that suvorexant will be evaluated by the Controlled Substance Staff of the FDA.

In the studies, suvorexant significantly reduced the time it took patients to fall asleep and increased the time that patients stayed asleep as early as the first night and at the three-month time point compared to placebo. "This investigational drug targets insomnia in a way that is different from other medicines," stated Andrew Krystal, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University Medical Center. "The potential for a new and different option would be welcome by patients with insomnia who cannot sleep through the night."

“We specifically focused our research efforts on insomnia because it is an area of significant unmet medical need,” commented Darryle Schoepp, SVP and head of neuroscience and ophthalmology franchise, Merck Research Laboratories. “Suvorexant approaches insomnia differently than other medicines because it helps patients to sleep by targeting and blocking orexins, which play a role in keeping people awake. We’re excited about the Phase III results and the potential of suvorexant to become the first in a new class of medicines to help patients with insomnia.”

"We’ve pointed out that we have good sleep offset efficacy, good sleep maintenance efficacy, lack of meaningful next-day residual effects and a safety profile allowing for chronic use, and about 30% of the patients who are in this market need chronic sleep therapy," noted Kenneth Frazier, Merck chairman, CEO, president and president of global human health, during a recent conference call with analysts. "Suvorexant comes to market in a way that’s differentiated for people who have to travel, people who have to use sleep medication, not having that drowsiness. Those next-day residual effects are important to them. We have data with respect to drivers, where we see that it really does make a difference."
 

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Upsher-Smith to acquire biotechnology firm Proximagen Group

BY Michael Johnsen

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — Upsher-Smith Labs on Wednesday announced that it has agreed to acquire Proximagen Group, a European biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system and inflammation.

Upsher-Smith intends to retain operations in Cambridge and London, England, the company reported.

“Having worked closely with Proximagen as both a commercial partner and a strategic shareholder since 2008, we believe that Proximagen has significant potential and we are excited about the opportunity of bringing new therapies to market that will benefit patients," stated Mark Evenstad, president and CEO Upsher-Smith.

The acquisition provides Upsher-Smith with expanded research and development capabilities and a platform for future growth in product development. Proximagen’s pipeline contains a number of programs in various stages of development across a number of therapeutic classes including central nervous system, inflammation, oncology and ophthalmology, Upsher-Smith reported.

The transaction is subject to approval by Proximagen shareholders and other terms and conditions set out in the joint offer announcement released by Upsher-Smith and Proximagen.

The transaction is also subject to the approval of the High Court of Justice in England and Wales.

In addition to the unanimous recommendation from the Board of Proximagen, Upsher-Smith has obtained irrevocable undertakings from Proximagen shareholders to accept the deal in respect of 72.01% of the share capital, including from Proximagen’s largest shareholder, Invesco Asset Management Limited.
 

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