PHARMACY

Lilly announces multimillion dollar investment in biotechnology

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Eli Lilly will invest funds into its existing biotechnology capabilities to further research and development of multispecific therapeutics.

"In many therapeutic areas — for instance, diabetes and oncology — one medicine isn’t enough for patients to manage their disease," Lilly VP biotechnology discovery research Tom Bumol said. "With our extensive biologics experience, we can now engineer new therapies where one medicine essentially provides the benefit of two. This could produce real benefits for patients, healthcare professionals and payers."

The drug maker announced the multimillion dollar investment at the BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C.

"We are building on our strong and successful biotechnology platform, which has delivered an exciting mid- to late-stage biotechnology pipeline," said Jan Lundberg, Lilly’s EVP science and technology, and president of Lilly Research Labs. "Our further investment in multispecific therapeutics underscores Lilly’s commitment to the field of biotechnology and its importance to providing improved outcomes for individual patients."

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Hi-Tech Pharmacal acquires rights to branded drugs

BY Allison Cerra

AMITYVILLE, N.Y. — Generic drug maker Hi-Tech Pharmacal said that it has acquired marketing and distribution rights to pain treatments made by Atley Pharmaceuticals.

Hi-Tech, which paid $3.6 million in cash for rights to the products and inventory, said some of Atley’s drugs already have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, while others were pending approval. The company didn’t say which products it was acquiring the rights to, but noted that Hi-Tech subsidiary ECR Pharmaceuticals will produce and promote the products.

"We are pleased to add these branded prescription products to our product portfolio," Hi-Tech president and CEO David Seltzer said. "We believe the acquisition of these products creates an excellent synergy with ECR’s current product line and provides additional therapeutic options to help primary care physicians and their patients address problems with pain."

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AstraZeneca, BMS say late-stage trial of Onglyza met primary endpoint

BY Allison Cerra

SAN DIEGO — A cobranded Type 2 diabetes treatment may help reduce blood-sugar levels among patients when combined with insulin (with or without metformin), according to a late-stage clinical trial.

AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb said that when Onglyza (saxagliptin) in the 5-mg strength was combined with insulin (with or without metformin), patients saw significantly lower HbA1C levels by an average of about 0.73% by the end of the phase-3 trial, compared with a placebo-insulin (with or without metformin) combination.

Conducted over a period of 24 weeks, the multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 455 Type 2 diabetes patients between the ages of 18 years and 78 years. All of the patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed as having inadequate glycemic control, AstraZeneca and BMS said.

The data was presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 71st annual Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

“Type 2 diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease, and many patients who require insulin may need to increase their dosage over time to help control their blood-sugar levels,” said Bernard Charbonnel, professor of endocrinology and metabolic diseases at the University of Nantes, France, and principal investigator of the study. “The study showed that Onglyza 5 mg used with insulin helped improve HbA1C in these adult patients with Type 2 diabetes.”

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