PHARMACY

In pact with Oncolys, Bristol-Myers Squibb snags rights to investigational HIV compound

BY Jim Frederick

NEW YORK and TOKYO — Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed a definitive licensing pact with Oncolys BioPharma, a privately held Japanese biotech company, that will give it control of a promising new HIV treatment.

Under terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will acquire exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture, develop and market festinavir, a once-a-day, orally available nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor in phase-2 development for HIV. The deal could provide as much as $286 million in upfront, development, regulatory and sales milestone payments to Oncolys, as well as potential royalties on worldwide sales of festinavir.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb has been dedicated to helping patients prevail over HIV for more than two decades and is committed to the ongoing discovery, development and delivery of medicines to fight HIV/AIDS globally,” said Brian Daniels, SVP development. “The profile of festinavir offers the possibility of improvement in the safety of long-term HIV treatment, an area of significant unmet medical need.”

Oncolys president and CEO Yasuo Urata expressed high hopes for the medicine.

“For many years I have been working for the development of medicines in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and I’m convinced that festinavir has the possibility to be a potent and effective NRTI with a promising resistance profile,” Urata said. “Also, festinavir’s once-daily dosage is essential for treating HIV patients worldwide.”

Early preclinical studies suggested that festinavir, which was licensed to Oncolys in 2006 from Yale University, “could have an improved safety profile over previous generations of NRTIs,” both companies noted in a joint statement.

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PHARMACY

Abbott, EpiTherapeutics ink 3-year licensing agreement

BY Allison Cerra

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Abbott has made a pact with a biopharmaceutical company to develop new cancer treatments by making small-molecule inhibitors.

Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will provide EpiTherapeutics with an up-front payment and will receive funding of research activities conducted at EpiTherapeutics. The biopharmaceutical company also is eligible, under certain conditions, to receive milestone payments as well as potential royalties on future revenues.

"Abbott’s oncology research is focused on the discovery and development of targeted, less toxic therapies that work against the processes cancers need to survive," said James Sullivan, pharmaceuticals discovery VP at Abbott. "The varied nature of the cancer requires a diverse approach looking at multiple disease targets in different tumor types and we look forward to working with EpiTherapeutics to accelerate our development of new anti-cancer drugs."

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PHARMACY

URAC revises accreditation programs

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — A healthcare accrediting organization is revising three products in its Pharmacy Quality Management suite of programs.

URAC said its pharmacy committee approved revisions to its mail service, specialty pharmacy, and workers’ compensation and property and casualty for pharmacy benefit management accreditation programs. The products revised include:

  • Mail-service pharmacy, version 2.0;

  • Specialty pharmacy, version 2.0; and

  • Workers’ compensation and property and casualty for pharmacy benefit management, version 2.0.

URAC also introduced new performance measures to benefit the mail-service and specialty pharmacy programs, including dispensing accuracy, medication adherence, generic dispensing rates, prescription turnaround time and overall consumer satisfaction.

"It is vital that, in this healthcare environment, URAC standards remain current. By incorporating measures into the pharmacy standards, URAC can facilitate quality improvement and innovation in the industry," said Alan Spielman, president and CEO of URAC. "Additionally, URAC’s goal is to encourage organizations to focus on outcomes for consumers and a dedication to patient safety."

Visit URAC.org/pqm/ for more information about these revised standards.

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