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FDA approves extended use of Valcyte for kidney transplant patients

BY Allison Cerra

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration is allowing kidney transplant patients to use a drug for a related viral infection for a longer period of time.

Genentech, Swiss drug maker Roche’s U.S. division, announced Wednesday that the agency had approved extending the time during which patients can use Valcyte (valganciclovir hydrochloride). The drug is used in patients at high risk for cytomegalovirus disease, a major cause of illness and disease during the six months after a transplant is received.

“Despite advances in the management of CMV, studies have shown that more than a third of patients still develop CMV infection even after 100 days of prophylaxis,” Genentech EVP global development and chief medical officer Hal Barron said. “This approval provides important information for physicians treating high-risk adult patients during the critical period after kidney transplant.”

An estimated 50 to 80% of all adults carry the virus, which mostly lies dormant throughout life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though the virus can cause mononucleosis, similar to the more common Epstein-Barr virus.

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Ideavillage Products to market, distribute Criss Angel magic kit

BY Allison Cerra

WAYNE, N.J. Famed illusionist and star of A&E’s “MindFreak” Criss Angel has partnered with Ideavillage Products to market and distribute his Platinum MindFreak magic kit.

The new magic line is geared toward people of all ages. The kit consists of more than 250 MindFreak tricks, including an instruction manual and DVD, as well as 6 individual MindFreak tricks with instructions. The kit is slated hit retail shelves next month.

“Criss Angel is a world class performing artist. It’s what he does best. TV is all about magic demonstrations which make it the perfect venue for introducing Criss’ new kit,” said Anand Khubani, Ideavillage Products CEO and founder. “Ideavillage is a leading marketer, product manufacturer, and distributor. The partnership just made sense because it allows both our organizations to use our talent and channel our energies in the right direction.”

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Report: Bi-Lo goes up for sale

BY Allison Cerra

MAULDIN, S.C. Just a few months after completing its financial restructuring, Bi-Lo reportedly is for sale, according to published reports.

Reuters reported that the chain, which operates 207 stores across four states and is owned by Lone Star Funds, is being pursued by Kroger and Publix. Recently, Bi-Lo launched a health-and-wellness initiative called Thrive, which is designed to educate shoppers on healthy living alternatives. Bi-Lo also revealed itself as a “stronger, better” supermarket chain late last month at the grand reopening of its Greer, S.C., location.

“This redesigned store represents all the great things Bi-Lo is doing to provide customers tremendous savings without having to sacrifice the quality and service they desire,” Michael Byars, president and CEO of Bi-Lo, recently said. “We are proud of our teammates’ hard work on this collective effort and we look forward to exceeding the expectations of our customers.”

Lone Star declined to comment to the press regarding this matter.

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