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Study: Benlysta added to lupus treatments yields higher response rates

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON An investigational biotech drug for lupus worked better when added to standard treatments than the standard treatments alone, according to late-stage clinical trial results released this week.

British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline and U.S. drug maker Human Genome Sciences announced results of a 76-week study of Benlysta (belimumab) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic and potentially fatal autoimmune disease that affects around 1.5 million Americans.

The study found that Benlysta added to standard treatments showed higher response rates than the standard treatments with placebo by the 76th week. The results of the 76-week study were not statistically significant, though efficacy results were in a 52-week study, and both studies indicated the drug was safe.

“We view the results of these studies as strongly supportive of our view that Benlysta has the potential to become the first new approved drug in more than 50 years for people living with systemic lupus,” Human Genome Sciences president and CEO H. Thomas Watkins said.

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Former Rite Aid VP joins A&P

BY Michael Johnsen

MONTVALE, N.J. Grocer A&P on Tuesday named Mark Kramer its new SVP operations, following the departure of Paul Wiseman.

“[Kramer’s] comprehensive background and strategic skill set will undoubtedly put our operations team on the path forward to our successful turn around,” stated Ron Marshall, A&P president and CEO.

Prior to taking the position at A&P, Kramer was the regional VP operations for Rite Aid. He also brings a significant amount of experience in grocery retail operations including achieving roles of increasing responsibility in Pathmark before its sale to A&P.

Kramer received a B.A. from Seton Hall University as well as certification from the Cornell Executive Development Program.

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PaperMate launches biodegradable products

BY Allison Cerra

OAK BROOK, Ill. Writing instrument maker PaperMate is going green.

The new Paper Mate Biodegradable products are the latest step in Paper Mate’s ongoing commitment to the environment. Paper Mate also offers an existing line of products made from recycled sources, and recently introduced an innovative new upcycling program to find new ways to repurpose otherwise throwaway writing instruments.

“When you write with a Paper Mate Biodegradable pen or pencil, you can do your part to help protect our planet,” said Kanan Banerjee, director of marketing for Paper Mate.”Paper Mate Biodegradable pens and pencils make going green simple, easy and affordable.”

The Paper Mate Biodegradable pen comes in black, blue, red or purple ink and retails for about $1.70. The mechanical pencil is available in 0.5mm or 0.7mm lead sizes and retails for about $2.70. Both are available wherever Paper Mate office products are sold.

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