PHARMACY

Northwestern sees $700 million for sale of Lyrica royalties

BY Drew Buono

Northwestern University has sold a portion of its royalty rights for the painkiller Lyrica to Royalty Pharma in a deal worth $700 million according to the Chicago Tribune. Northwestern chemists were the first to synthesize the chemical compound pregabalin, which is the main ingredient of Lyrica.

 

The university will continue to collect some royalties on the drug, which is marketed by Pfizer to treat nerve pain associated with diabetes, shingles and fibromyalgia.

 

 

The bulk of the $700 million will go into NU’s endowment fund, which is worth $6.6 billion, but some portion will go to the chemists who synthesized pregabalin. Lyrica sold close to $900 million in 2006, according to IMS Health data, and estimates are that it will top $1 billion for 2007.

 

 

By accepting a lump sum and depositing most of it in NU’s endowment fund, the university can grow the amount by earning interest, said Eugene Sunshine, Northwestern’s senior vice president for business and finance. “You get a big chunk of money now and put the money to work for you,” said Sunshine. “We’ll be able to do more with it than we would’ve been able to do otherwise.”

 

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LG debuts home health-monitoring in a cell phone

BY Drew Buono

CALGARY, Canada The Home Health Monitoring Solution is a new handheld device developed by LG Electronics allows patients with chronic illnesses to send such information as their pulse, blood pressure and glucose levels to their physician wirelessly, according to published reports.

The goal is eventually to add the technology to cellphones, the same way photography and music capabilities have been added. The product is designed to help patients with illnesses that need constant monitoring. It could also be useful for seniors with limited mobility and for patients who live in rural areas. By constantly keeping track of someone’s medical data it would provide a greater help to the patient and physician monitoring the illness.

The first stage of tests for the three-year project will begin next month. It will involve monitoring blood pressure, pulse and temperature. Down the road, glucose levels and other blood chemistry markers will be added as features.

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Senate votes to extend current SCHIP legislation through March 2009

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill unanimously that will extend the State Children’s Health Insurance Program through March 2009, according to reports. The House of Representatives plans to look at the issue before the end of the year.

This extension will end a battle for now with President Bush, who had twice vetoed the bill, including the most recent veto last week. Bush vetoed the program the second time because he felt the second version was too similar to the first and would cost too much money as well as shift children from the private marketplace to government run programs.

The bill also would stop a scheduled 10 percent pay cut for Medicare doctors for six months and provide a 0.5 percent increase instead. The health legislation costs about $6 billion, but was paid for by savings in other health programs.

The program currently covers about 6.6 million poor children.

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