PHARMACY

MiddleBrook to sell Keflex to pay off loan, expand biotech

BY Allison Cerra

GERMANTOWN, Md. MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals is selling its antibiotic line to a shareholder in hopes that the money will be used to develop a sale or partnerships with another company, according to reports.

The Keflex antibiotic (cephalexin) line will be sold to Deerfield Management, a health care investment fund and one of the company’s biggest shareholders, for $7.5 million.

The deal allows Germantown, Md.-based MiddleBrook to pay off the balance of an $8 million Merrill Lynch loan, and may also provide the company with an additional monies if it is able to market and sell other innovations for the antibiotic line, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Under the deal, MiddleBrook will license back its Keflex brand and continue managing that business, paying up to 20 percent of sales in royalties to Deerfield. If MiddleBrook chooses to buy back the line, it must pay Deerfield over $11 million and upwards within one year of selling the biotech products.

MiddleBrook, formerly Advancis Pharmaceutical, is selling the antibiotic line in order to expand its marketing initiatives in the biotech industry.

Meanwhile, if another company purchases MiddleBrook, it must buy back the Keflex products, according to the terms of its deal with Deerfield.

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Deerfield as it provides us with the financial flexibility to continue our strategic discussions” beyond January, Rudnic said. “This agreement will also allow us to repay our loan facility with Merrill Lynch, which has restricted our use of cash and other corporate assets.”

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Eisai announces new hires and appointments

BY Drew Buono

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. Eisai Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Eisai Co., today announced new hires and appointments within the company, which produces such drugs as the acid-reflux medication Aciphex and Aricept, which is used to treat mild, moderate and severe Alzheimer’s disease.

Sunitha Ramamurthy has joined Eisai Corporation of North America as compliance director of Research and Development. Christine Drobot has joined the company as counsel for Employment and Research and Development. Barbara Sudovar has joined Eisai Inc. as director of U.S. Market Research.

Steven Brown has been promoted to director of Marketing Finance and will be responsible for financial reporting and business planning of product line P&Ls. Prior to this promotion, Steven was associate director of Marketing Finance for two years and marketing finance manager on the Aricept brand for two years. Terry Paluga has been promoted to specialty district manager where she will oversee the Baltimore Specialty District.

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Study shows Zocor could increase incidence of sleep disorders

BY Drew Buono

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. A new study showed that patients on the cholesterol drug Zocor were three times as likely to suffer from insomnia than those who took another cholesterol drug Pravachol and those taking a placebo, according to Bloomberg.com.

Insomnia is listed as a possible side effect for all cholesterol-lowering drugs. Merck spokesman Ron Rogers said the company found no significant effects on sleep in its own insomnia studies comparing Zocor with pravastatin, the generic of Pravachol and a placebo. Nor did the company see sleep disruption as a side effect in two other studies testing the drug’s effectiveness in thousands of patients.

The National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, funded the study. Zocor was the world’s second-best-selling cholesterol pill, behind Pfizer’s Lipitor, before it lost patent protection in June 2006.

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