Roche to expand diabetes pipeline
BASEL, Switzerland Diabetes patients may soon find themselves with an expanded range of treatment options.
According to results of a late-stage clinical trial announced Thursday, Roche’s drug taspoglutide was able to reduce blood glucose in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The phase 3 trial is the first of five for the drug, a weekly GLP-1 analogue similar to Novo Nordisk’s Victoza (liraglutide) and Byetta (exenatide), made by Eli Lilly & Co., Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Alkermes.
“Taspoglutide’s consistent robust efficacy data across studies in terms of glucose control, when compared head-to-head with other widely prescribed diabetes treatments, are encouraging,” study investigator and director of the Dallas Diabetes and Endocrine Center at Medical City Julio Rosenstock said. “This weekly GLP-1 receptor agonist has the potential to become a valuable new treatment option for patients with Type 2 diabetes.”
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.”