PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis posts increase in sales, announces new biotech partnership

BY Adam Kraemer

PARIS Sanofi-Aventis stated that its fourth-quarter profit rose 6.2 percent on a resurgence of sales from the Plavix blood-thinner and savings from job cuts, according to the Bloomberg news service.

Net income was 1.46 billion euros ($2.12 billion), or 1.09 euros per share, compared with 1.38 billion euros, or 1.02 euros, a year earlier, France’s largest pharmaceuticals company reported. Eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predicted profit of 1.41 billion euros for the fourth quarter.

Sanofi has benefited from a recovery in sales of Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate), the company’s second-best seller, after a U.S. judge ruled that Canadian generic firm Apotex couldn’t continue to market its generic version.

Sanofi is battling generic competition to medicines that generate more than one-third of pharmaceutical sales. The Paris-based drugmaker is trying to get new products on the market before Plavix and the anti-clot treatment Lovenox lose patent protection, starting in 2011.

U.S. Plavix sales, which are booked by partner Bristol-Myers Squibb, rose to $1.18 billion in the quarter compared with $348 million a year earlier. Sales of Plavix attributable to Sanofi rose 13 percent to 609 million euros.

In related news, Sanofi Tuesday agreed to pay Dyax Corp. as much as $500 million for rights to develop an experimental drug using the U.S. company’s research technology. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Dyax will get $25 million in fees from Sanofi this year, plus royalties on medicines that reach the market from the partnership.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves two new APP generic medications

BY Diana Alickaj

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. The Food and Drug Administration approved APP Pharmaceuticals’ new drug applications for caffeine citrate oral solution at 20 milligrams/milliliter and for bleomycin sulfate for injection.

Caffeine citrate oral solution, the generic version of Bedford Labs’ Cafcin, is a treatment used for premature infants who have apnea, a condition where babies stop breathing during sleep for a brief amount of time, according to published reports.

Bleomycin is a treatment for cancer, a generic of Bristol-Myer’s Blenoxane, although it works in combination with other medicines. As a result of the recent FDA approval, APP Pharma stock increased to $10.33, a three-cent increase per share.

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Shares of Labopharm rise with positive Trazodone study

BY Diana Alickaj

NEW YORK Positive results on Trazodone, a once-daily anti-depressant pill, caused shares of Labopharm to rise on Friday.

According to published reports, Trazodone is a pill whose main goal is to improve a patient’s quality of sleep. The study reveals that this goal was met, with 412 patients showing that a once-daily version is effective and also inhibits a patient from awaking as frequently during the night.

The stock for Labopharm rose by 18.7 percent, about 37 cents, increasing the stock price to $2.35 in morning trading. Over the past year, the stock has ranged between 63 cents and $7.21.

The Food And Drug Administration already approved the twice-daily version of Trazodone, and Labopharm is planning to file a new drug application for its newest version of Trazodone with the FDA later in the year.

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