PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk acquires 2 biopharma companies

BY David Salazar

BAGSVÆRD, Denmark — Novo Nordisk this week announced that it would expand its portfolio with the acquisition of biopharmaceutical companies Calibirum and MB2, both based in Indiana. Both companies are focused on developing treatment for diabetes and metabolic diseases.

“We are always on the lookout for ways to strengthen our leadership position within therapeutic proteins,” Novo Nordisk’s EVP and chief science officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said. “This research team has demonstrated world-class capabilities in protein design and created a project portfolio of innovative product leads that fit very well with our aspirations within diabetes and obesity.”

The transaction, whose details won’t be disclosed, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2015.

"It's an honor to join the global Novo Nordisk research community,” MB2 and Calibrium’s chief scientific officer and co-founder Richard DiMarachi said. “Their intense focus on metabolic diseases, which over the years has led to numerous breakthrough protein-based medicines, aligns perfectly with my career-long priorities.”

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Synjardy tablets

BY Lesley Thulin

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. and INDIANAPOLIS — The Food and Drug Administration has a new diabetes treatment developed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Co. Synjardy (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride) is the third product containing empagliflozin for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes to be approved by the FDA.

"Synjardy is now the fifth FDA-approved medicine to emerge from the BI-Lilly Diabetes alliance pipeline in the last four years," Paul Fonteyne, president and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim, said. "No two people with diabetes are alike, and every experience is different. Our alliance is proud to offer a diverse portfolio of treatments that can help patients throughout their diabetes journey."

An adjunct to diet and exercise, Synjardy combines empagliflozin and metformin — two medicines with complementary mechanisms of action — to help control type 2 diabetes patients’ blood glucose, according to Boehringer Ingelheim. Empagliflozin, a sodium glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor, removes excess glucose through the urine by blocking glucose reabsorption in the kidney, while metformin, a commonly prescribed initial treatment for type 2 diabetes, lowers glucose production by the liver and its absorption in the intestine.

The Synjardy label contains a boxed warning for the risk of lactic acidosis, a serious metabolic complication that can occur due to metformin accumulation, Boehringer Ingelheim said.

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E-prescribing controlled substances now legal nationwide

BY Lesley Thulin

ARLINGTON, Va. — Vermont on Friday became the last state in the nation to legalize electronic prescriptions for controlled substances — a measure that many states have adopted as a way to combat the abuse of controlled substances and prevent individuals from resorting to fraudulent paper prescriptions.

“Care providers, pharmacies and government officials are working together to combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic that plagues our nation,” Tom Skelton, CEO of Surescripts, said. “Throwing out the prescription pad and opting for an electronic process makes it easier for patients to get the medications they need while helping to prevent fraud and abuse.”

Deaths from prescription painkillers have quadrupled since 1999, killing more than 16,000 Americans in 2013, according to Surescripts.

Surescripts has launched a website to help educate physicians on how to e-prescribe controlled substances. In the first half of 2015, Surescripts processed 4 million e-prescriptions for controlled substances, up from the 1.6 million processed in 2014.

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