PHARMACY

FDA approves Avastin to treat breast cancer

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Biologic Oncology Products has approved to treat breast cancer Genentech’s Avastin, which is already approved to treat metastatic colorectal cancer and advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

The new indication for the drug is, for the treatment of patients who have not received chemotherapy for metastatic HER2 negative breast cancer. The drug is to be used in its new treatment with the breast cancer drug Taxol, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

This comes after Genentech submitted a study to the FDA stating that the drug, when used with Taxol delayed the growth of a patient’s tumor for 11.3 months, 5.5 months longer than when Taxol was used alone.

This new approval could bring Genentech as much as $2 billion per year for the company.

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Eli Lilly introduces its third new insulin pen in the past year

BY Drew Buono

INDIANAPOLIS Eli Lilly today launched its new insulin pen, KwikPen, which is prefilled with the Humalog brand of insulins. This is the third new insulin pen launched by the company in the last 12 months, following the launches of HumaPen MEMOIR, a digital insulin pen and HumaPen LUXURA, a reusable pen for people who need insulin dosing in smaller increments.

KwikPen is now available by prescription in pharmacies prefilled with the Humalog brand of insulins, including Humalog, Humalog Mix75/25 and Humalog Mix50/50. Patients using the original Humalog and Humalog Mixtures prefilled pen do not need to convert at this time.

“KwikPen, prefilled with Humalog and Humalog Mixtures, provides people with diabetes an exciting new option for accurate insulin dosing with the convenience of an easy-to-use prefilled pen,” said Matt Beebe, Humalog brand leader, Lilly USA.

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Pfizer to acquire Encysive, will gain rights to Thelin

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Pfizer has announced that it intends on buying Encysive Pharmaceuticals for about $195 million, according to the Associated Press.

As part of the deal, Pfizer would gain the rights to Encysive’s drug Thelin, which is approved in some European countries for the treatment of high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery. The drug is still awaiting approval in the U.S. Pfizer would also gain access to the rest of Encysive’s portfolio of drugs.

Pfizer already markets Revatio for high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery and Thelin would only strengthen the market for the company. Pfizer plans on conducting a late-stage trial of Thelin in the U.S. in hopes of obtaining final approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Analysts project the drug could make about $100 million annually by 2012.

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