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Lionsgate, HIT Entertainment release DVD collections of three popular kids’ shows for the holidays

BY Melissa Valliant

SANTA MONICA, Calif. What do talking sheep, trains and dinosaurs have in common? They’re all stars of the hottest new DVD collections from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment this fall. “Shaun the Sheep: Season One Gift Set” and “Thomas & Friends: Best Tales on the Tracks” will be available for purchase on Oct. 19, and “Barney & Friends Learning Pack” will be arriving in stores on Oct. 26.

All 40 season-one episodes of British stop-animation show “Shaun the Sheep” are included on the “Season One Gift Set.” Join Shaun and his quirky friends Bitzer, Shirley, Timmy and more in their escapades on the farm. Also included are seven bonus features, such as “Sing-Along With Shaun,” the “Whack-A-Pig” and “Sheep Shearing” games and a featurette on “The Mini-Making of Shaun.”

“Thomas & Friends: Best Tales on the Tracks” brings together on six discs the best tales of the talking blue tank engine Thomas and his gang of engine friends — James, Gordon, Percy and others — on the Island of Sodor.

Everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur will be featured on a set of six fun and educational DVDs in the “Barney & Friends Learning Pack.” Barney, Baby Bop and B.J. turn the playground into an exciting musical experience in this collection of episodes that explore colors, counting, nursery rhymes and the alphabet.

All three DVD collections have a suggested retail price of $29.98.

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Impax Labs pursuing FDA approval for generic cholesterol-lowering drug

BY Alaric DeArment

HAYWARD, Calif. Generic drug maker Impax Labs is hoping to win approval for a generic cholesterol-lowering drug.

Impax said it had filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration for approval of a version of Merck & Co.’s Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) in the 10 mg/80 mg strength. Vytorin had sales of around $222 million during the 12-month period ended June 30, according to Wolters Kluwer Health.

Impax’s application contained a paragraph IV certification, a legal assertion that the patents covering Vytorin are invalid, unenforceable or won’t be infringed. In response, under the provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, Merck subsidiaries Schering Corp. and MSP Singapore Co. filed suit for patent infringement against Impax in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The suit puts a stay on the FDA’s approval of the drug until Impax goes to trial and wins or until the companies resolve the matter before the court.

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Taro ups sales, profits in first half of 2010

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Taro Pharmaceutical Industries had increases in sales and profits during the first half of the year, the Israeli generic drug maker said.

Taro reported sales of $187.3 million, compared with $181.7 million during the first half of 2009. Profits increased by 24%, to $29.2 million, compared with $23.6 million in the first half of 2009.

For second quarter 2010, sales were $98 million, compared with $96.8 million in second quarter 2009. Profits for the quarter were $18.9 million, a 51% increase over second quarter 2009’s $12.5 million.

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