PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis to acquire Acambis in $550 million deal

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis will buy United Kingdom-based Acambis in an agreement announced Friday.

Sanofi-Aventis will pay $550.7 million for the British vaccine maker, or $3.79 a share.

Sanofi-Aventis has had a partnership with Acambis since November through its subsidiary, Sanofi Pasteur. The two companies were commercializing vaccines against dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile virus. Acambis is also developing vaccines against flu and herpes and won a 10-year, $425 million contract with the United States government to supply a smallpox vaccine.

“This mutually beneficial acquisition is a logical step building upon Sanofi Pasteur and Acambis’ decade-long partnership on key projects to develop and market vaccines of the future,” stated Wayne Pisano, chief executive officer of Sanofi Pasteur.

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PHARMACY

Genentech shareholders accuse Roche of bad faith offer

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Objections to Roche’s purchase of remaining shares of Genentech have surfaced as shareholders have accused the Swiss drug maker of abusing its power.

Shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Roche in a Delaware court, though the company has said its actions are legal.

Roche acquired a majority stake in Genentech in 1990. It offered to buy the remaining shares it doesn’t own Monday for $89 a share.

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PHARMACY

Walgreens to give more than $1 million to promote minority initiatives at pharma schools

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. Less than 12 percent of students in pharmacy school are minorities, but the country’s largest retail pharmacy chain wants to change that.

Walgreens announced Thursday that it would donate more than $1 million to efforts to promote diversity, giving $10,000 to each of the country’s 111 accredited pharmacy colleges. It initially announced the effort at annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

“As our country’s need for pharmacy services continues to rise, so does its need for dedicated community pharmacists to serve an increasingly diverse patient base,” Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rein said. “Today’s pharmacists play a vital role in their local communities.”

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