PHARMACY

NASA, Epiomed Therapeutics partner on development of scopolamine nasal spray

BY Michael Johnsen

HOUSTON — NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Epiomed Therapeutics have signed an agreement to develop and commercialize a NASA-crafted, fast-acting nasal spray to fight motion sickness. 

Under the Space Act Agreement, Epiomed will formulate the drug, called intranasal scopolamine, or INSCOP. Astronauts often experience motion sickness in space. As a result, NASA has conducted extensive research into the causes and treatments for the condition. Scopolamine is effective and can be administered as a tablet or injected. With a precise dosage, the NASA spray formulation has been shown to work faster and more reliably than the oral form. 

Scopolamine is currently approved as a prescription-only transdermal patch called Transder Scop, manufactured by Novartis, and is indicated to help prevent nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. 

"NASA and Epiomed will work closely together on further development of INSCOP to optimize therapeutic efficiency for both acute and chronic treatment of motion sickness which can be used by NASA, the Department of Defense and world travelers on land, in the air and on the seas," stated Lakshmi Putcha, developer of the treatment strategy at Johnson. 

A gel formulation of INSCOP was developed and tested under a Space Act Agreement between Johnson and the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Fla. Results from that trial were published in the journal Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine in April 2010 that suggest INSCOP is a fast-acting and reliable way to prevent and treat motion sickness. 

The U.S. Navy is working on an agreement with Epiomed to test the nasal spray. NASA and Epiomed will collaborate on clinical trials related to the Federal Drug Administration requirements. NASA is transferring sponsorship of future clinical trials and FDA approvals to Epiomed, which will supply the product for use by NASA and others. 

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FDA approves new use for Genentech arthritis drug

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new use for a drug made by Roche division Genentech.

The drug maker said Friday that the FDA had approved Actemra (tocilizumab) for adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded adequately to one or more disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. The drug was already approved for systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

"People with moderately to severely active RA can suffer irreversible joint damage that may be prevented by earlier treatment with a biologic medicine such as Actemra," Genentech chief medical officer and head of global product development Hal Barron said. "We’re pleased that these patients will now have Actemra as an additional option."


 

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Survey: Two-in-three pharmacy students interested in becoming an independent

BY Michael Johnsen

 SAN DIEGO — Nearly two-thirds of pharmacy students are interested in owning a community pharmacy after graduation, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association. 

The national survey of some 120 NCPA student members was conducted to gauge interest in becoming a future pharmacy owner. “Today’s pharmacy students are some of the best and brightest I’ve ever seen,” stated Lonny Wilson, NCPA president. “The feedback we received from this survey furthers my belief that these students will be the hardworking, dedicated pharmacy owners our profession needs to thrive. We are proud to partner with McKesson to help [pharmacy students] attend the NCPA Annual Convention to help them become those successful owners of the future.”

McKesson sponsors the RxOwnership program, which is dedicated to providing independent pharmacy owners, prospective owners and pharmacy students with tools to help them map out their future. In the past year, RxOwnership has been involved in more than 450 pharmacy buy, sell or transfer deals and supported nearly 300 startups. 

“McKesson RxOwnership is proud to partner with NCPA to support the future of pharmacy ownership by giving students the knowledge and tools to map out their future,” commented Bob Graul, national VP, McKesson RxOwnership. “Many recent pharmacy graduates are interested in independent pharmacy ownership because they want the ability to decide how they would like to run a pharmacy and tailor its services to meet the needs of their customers and community. Ultimately, this gives them the ability to do what community pharmacists do best – focus on patient care.”

 

 

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