PHARMACY

Lilly inks deal with Care Capital, NovaQuest Capital to establish BioCritica

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS — Drug maker Eli Lilly is partnering with two private investor groups to form a new biotech company based in central Indiana, the company said Monday.

Lilly signed a deal with Care Capital and NovaQuest Capital to establish BioCritica, a privately held biotechnology company that will focus on continued U.S. development and commercialization of the severe sepsis treatment Xigris (drotrecogin alfa [activated]). The new company also will expand its portfolio of critical care medicines for hospitals.

Under a licensing agreement, BioCritica will acquire U.S. development and commercialization rights to Xigris and receive rights to potentially acquire several critical care compounds in preclinical development at Lilly.

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PhRMA: California-based drug makers focusing on heart disease, cancer treatments

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — California-based companies are developing nearly more than one-fifth of the drugs to treat some of the deadliest diseases in the world, according to an analysis by the drug industry lobby.

According to two Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America reports released this year, of the 1,186 drugs under development for heart disease and cancer, 243 were from California companies. These include 188-of-the-887 drugs for more than 20 types of cancer, and 55-of-the-299 drugs for heart disease and stroke.

“California’s companies are on the front line in both the ongoing war on cancer and the intense fight against heart disease,” PhRMA spokesman Jeff Trewhitt said. “The drugs they are testing could prove to be important to patients all over the world, including [patients in] both the United States and California, where heart disease and cancer are also the two leading causes of death.”

According to PhRMA, more than 73,000 California residents died of heart disease in 2004, and heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer accounted for 54% of deaths among the state’s growing Latino population.

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PHARMACY

Gestational diabetes risk increases among women that gain weight between first, second pregnancies

BY Allison Cerra

OAKLAND, Calif. — Women that experience body mass index gains between their first and second pregnancies are at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes in the second pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study.

The study examined a diverse cohort of 22,351 women from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California over a 10-year period. Women who gained 2.0 to 2.9 BMI units (approximately 12 lbs. to 17 lbs.) between the first and second pregnancy were more than two times more likely to develop GDM in the second pregnancy, compared with those whose weight remained stable (i.e., plus or minus 6 lbs. between pregnancies). What’s more, women who lost more than 6 lbs. between the first and second pregnancy reduced their risk of developing GDM in the second pregnancy by approximately 50%, compared with women whose weight remained stable.

The study, which is said to be the first to examine whether weight loss before a second pregnancy reduces the risk of recurrent GDM, was published online in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"[The results] support the avoidance of gestational weight retention and postpartum weight gain to decrease the risk of GDM in a second pregnancy, as well as the promotion of postpartum weight loss in overweight or obese women, particularly those with a history of GDM," according to study lead investigator Samantha Ehrlich, a project manager at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

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