PHARMACY

Matrix Labs’ generic Protonix DR receives FDA approval

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a treatment for gastroesphageal reflux disease made by a subsidiary of Mylan, the generic drug maker said Monday.

The FDA approved Matrix Labs’ pantoprazole sodium delayed-release tablets in the 20-mg and 40-mg strengths.

The drug is a version of Protonix DR, made by Wyeth, now part of Pfizer. Various versions of the drug had sales of around $1.7 billion during the 12-month period ended in September, according to IMS Health. The FDA also approved a version made by Dr. Reddy’s Labs on Friday.

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In study, Alexza’s schizophrenia treatment significantly improves symptoms

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — An investigational schizophrenia drug appears effective in reducing agitation in patients with the disease, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Alexza Pharmaceuticals announced results of a phase-3 trial of the inhaled drug AZ-004 (loxapine), which showed statistically significant improvement in symptoms of agitation in patients compared with the placebo.

“Individuals with schizophrenia are highly vulnerable to episodes of agitation,” said Michael Lesem, lead study author and medical director of the Houston-based Claghorn-Lesem Research Clinic. “Current treatment options are not optimal for managing these episodes. There is a clear need for novel anti-agitation treatments that are quick to act, safe and well-tolerated, easy to administer and accepted by patients and staff.”

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FDA accepts filing for CDI treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted a regulatory filing from Optimer Pharmaceuticals for a drug to treat bacterial infections.

Optimer announced Monday the FDA’s acceptance of its approval application for fidaxomicin for treating clostridium difficile infection, or CDI. CDI is a colon infection that is a particular problem in hospitals, long-term care centers and in the broader community. It is estimated to affect more than 700,000 people per year. The agency has granted the application priority review and expects to finish its review by May 30.

“In phase-3 clinical trials, fidaxomicin not only showed a high clinical cure rate, but also demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in reducing recurrences, one of the major problems in the current management of CDI,” Optimer president and CEO Pedro Lichtinger said.

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