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Pfizer to discover, develop drugs with UC San Diego Health Sciences

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Pfizer will invest up to $50 million over the next five years in drug discovery and development under a collaboration with the University of California San Diego Health Sciences, the drug maker said.

Pfizer said it would partner with the university through the company’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation — a network of partnerships with life science research institutions in California, Massachusetts and New York — to support programs and potential milestone payments to UC San Diego Health Sciences for successful projects. The partnership includes lab space at Pfizer’s La Jolla, Calif., research and development campus that will allow scientists from the company and the university to work together.

"The collaborative partnerships formed through the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation between Pfizer and academic medical centers allow leading medical and clinical experts to join with Pfizer’s highly skilled scientists and advanced drug development capabilities to speed the translation of innovative science into medicines for patients," Pfizer SVP and head of biotherapeutics research and development Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos said.

 

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Avanir sues Par, Actavis over generic versions of neurological drug

BY Alaric DeArment

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Drug maker Avanir Pharmaceuticals has filed suit against two generic drug makers seeking to launch versions of a drug used to treat pseudobulbar affect, which causes sudden, involuntary episodes of laughing and crying, and occurs secondary to numerous other neurological conditions.

Avanir filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Par and Actavis, which had filed for regulatory approval of Nuedexta (dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulfate).

Avanir alleged that the the generics made by Par and Actavis would violate U.S. Patent Nos. 7,659,282 and RE38,115, set to expire in August 2026 and January 2016, respectively.

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Pharmacists, dentists raise awareness of medication-related dry mouth

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO — A lot of prescription and OTC medications carry the side effect of dry mouth, and while it usually is a mere nuisance that quickly passes, its severe forms can increase the risk of mouth sores, infections and tooth decay, especially among elderly patients.

Because of this, dentists and pharmacists are looking to raise awareness of medication-induced dry mouth, known by health professionals as xerostomia, in a campaign that brings together the American Pharmacists Association, the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Academy of Periodontology.

"Each day, a healthy adult normally produces around one-and-a-half liters of saliva, making it easier to talk, swallow, taste, digest food and perform other important functions that often go unnoticed," Academy of General Dentistry president Fares Elias said. "Those not producing adequate saliva may experience some common symptoms of dry mouth."

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