Obese children at risk of early death, study finds
NEW YORK Obese children carry a risk of dying before age 55 years, more than twice that of the thinnest, according to a study published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and other sites examined data on 4,857 nondiabetic Pima and Tohono O’odham Native Americans born between 1945 and 1984, starting from around the age of 11. The researchers chose the two groups because their rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes began increasing before those of the general U.S. population. The researchers then tracked them from childhood to adulthood.
Of the 559 who had died by 2003, diseases or self-inflicted injury – such as alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses – had contributed to the deaths of 166. Those with the highest body mass indexes in childhood were more than twice as likely to have died prematurely than those with the lowest indexes. Meanwhile, those with the highest blood glucose levels had premature death rates 73% higher than those with the lowest.
“Obesity, glucose intolerance, and hypertension in childhood were strongly associated with increased rates of premature death from endogenous causes in this population,” the authors concluded, referring to causes of death related to diseases and self-inflicted injuries. “In contrast, childhood hypercholesterolemia was not a major predictor of premature death from endogenous causes.”
Biovail, Alexza develop inhaled mental health treatment
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. An inhaled mental health drug could appear on the market in the near future under a collaboration announced Wednesday by Biovail Corp. and Alexza Pharmaceuticals.
Biovail subsidiary Biovail Labs International SRL and Alexza said they would work together to develop and commercialize AZ-004 (loxapine) in the United States and Canada. The drug is based on Alexza’s proprietary Staccato technology and is an inhaled drug designed to treat agitation in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Alexza submitted an approval application for the drug to the Food and Drug Administration in December 2009.
Under the terms of the deal, Biovail will pay Alexza $40 million upfront and up to $90 million in milestone payments, if the drug is approved, as well as royalty payments of 10% to 25%.
“We are very excited to be partnering our lead program with Biovail,” Alexza president and CEO Thomas King said in a statement. “Their key strategic focus and their [central nervous system] commercial plans match our view of an ideal partner for AZ-004. We believe that AZ-004, if approved, has the potential to change the treatment practices for acute agitation, as the only product able to meet both the patients’ desire for quickly and comfortably gaining control of their agitation and the clinicians’ goal of rapidly and reliably calming an agitated patient.”
Novartis to develop, market hepatitis C drug
BASEL, Switzerland Novartis has gained exclusive rights to develop and market a hepatitis C drug that is the first of its kind, the Swiss drug maker announced Tuesday.
Novartis acquired control of Debio 025 (alisporivir) from Debiopharm Group. The drug is the first of a drug class known as cyclophilin inhibitors, which target host proteins involved in the growth of the virus. The drug is currently in phase 2b clinical trials.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will pay unspecified upfront and milestone payments to Debiopharm, as well as royalties on sales, in exchange for the exclusive right to develop and market the drug worldwide, except in Japan.
“Hepatitis C is sometimes referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’ because the virus can lie dormant in the body for years or even decades before the symptoms become apparent,” Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division CEO David Epstein said. “Novartis is dedicated to developing medicines that will reduce the impact of this disease on patients, and we believe that Debio 025 could prove an important step forward by significantly enhancing the efficacy of existing therapy that forms the standard of care for hepatitis C.”