PHARMACY

Sanofi Pasteur donates tetanus-containing vaccine doses to storm victims

BY Allison Cerra

SWIFTWATER, Pa. — The vaccines division of drug maker Sanofi donated vaccine doses on behalf of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation to Direct Relief International, which will aid victims of the recent storms in the Southeast and Midwest.

Sanofi Pasteur announced its donation of 5,500 doses of tetanus-containing vaccine, including 500 doses of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) vaccine. A tetanus booster vaccine is recommended for adults every 10 years, the drug maker said, noting that there are two forms of tetanus vaccine that predominantly are used in the United States: Tdap, which provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and Td, which provides tetanus and diphtheria protection.

Jeff Gordon, a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, and his wife are the national representatives for the Sounds of Pertussis Campaign, a joint initiative of Sanofi Pasteur and March of Dimes that seeks to educate parents, family members and infant caregivers about the importance of receiving a Tdap booster vaccination. Gordon became involved in the disaster relief efforts after the homes of his engine tuner’s mother and sister were destroyed in Alabama.

"The devastation throughout these regions is astounding," Gordon said. "I’m pleased that the baby products my Foundation is sending to St. Claire County, Ala., and the much-needed Tdap vaccine Sanofi Pasteur is donating to Direct Relief International will assist those who have been affected."

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Diamyd Medical earns back rights to diabetes drug from J&J subsidiary

BY Alaric DeArment

STOCKHOLM — Swedish drug maker Diamyd Medical has regained control of its investigational drug for Type 1 diabetes following Johnson & Johnson’s termination of a development deal between the two companies.

Diamyd and J&J subsidiary Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals signed the deal to develop the drug, also known as Diamyd, in June 2010. But last month, Diamyd Medical reported that a phase-3 trial of the drug in Europe showed that it failed to achieve the goal of improving beta cell function in newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes patients, leading to the cancellation of a follow-up study.

Under the deal, following J&J’s termination of the agreement, all rights for Diamyd returned to Diamyd Medical.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals and we hope to have more opportunities for cooperation in the future,” Diamyd acting president and CEO Peter Zerhouni said.

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New flu vaccine will mirror this past season’s

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the Food and Drug Administration has recommended that the flu vaccine for the 2011-2012 season protect against the same strains as it did this year.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended that the vaccine will protect those immunized against H1N1, H3N2 and a type of influenza-B virus, the same formulation as this past season’s vaccine.

This past 2010-2011 flu season, outpatient visits for influenza-like illness peaked at 4.6% during the week ended Feb. 19, according to the CDC. What’s more, based on the percentage of deaths resulting from pneumonia or flu, the number of flu-associated pediatric deaths reported and the percentage of visits to outpatient clinics for ILI, the CDC reported that the 2010-2011 flu season was less severe than the 2009-2010 and 2007-2008 seasons, but more severe than the 2008-2009 flu season.

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