PHARMACY

Study: Exenatide may tout anti-inflammatory effect

BY Allison Cerra

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A drug commonly prescribed to Type 2 diabetics to improve blood-sugar control also may have a rapid anti-inflammatory effect, according to results from a small study conducted by researchers at the University of Buffalo.

The 12-week study — which involved 24 obese Type 2 diabetics who already were on insulin to control their glucose levels — was led by Paresh Dandona, UB distinguished professor of medicine at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Dandona and colleagues undertook the study based on their previous observations (published in 2007) that indicated exenatide as having an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing plasma C-reactive protein levels, triglycerides and systolic blood pressure.

In this study, the researchers discovered that patients experienced a short-lived anti-inflammatory effect — that was independent of weight loss — within two hours following a single injection of 5 mcg of the drug. Dandona said the effect "may lead to the inhibition of atherosclerosis, the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and gangrene in diabetics."

The study of the drug, marketed under the trade name Byetta, was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.


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PHARMACY

Valeant names CFO

BY Allison Cerra

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — A former Goldman Sachs executive will join Valeant Pharmaceuticals as EVP and CFO.

Howard Schiller will take over the position from Philip Loberg, who has been serving as Valeant’s interim CFO on Dec. 1. Prior to his new role, Schiller was COO for Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division until his retirement in January.

"The board of directors and I are delighted that Howard has agreed to join our company," Valeant chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson said. "Howard brings an unquestioned intellect, tremendous relevant experience, an impressive track record of success, and a humble demeanor which will fit well with our company. I also want to thank Phil for the role he has performed these past twelve months and I am pleased that he will continue to play a key role in our financial organization."


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PHARMACY

Genzyme names leaders of MS, rare diseases units

BY Allison Cerra

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Genzyme has named leaders of two units that are part of the core focus of the drug maker’s business.

Bill Sibold, former chief commercial officer at Avanir Pharmaceuticals, was appointed to serve as head of the multiple sclerosis business, while Rogério Vivaldi, who most recently served as president of Genzyme’s renal and endocrinology business, now is the head of the rare diseases business.

Both Sibold and Vivaldi will report to Genzyme president and CEO David Meeker, who recently became part of the company’s executive team.

“These appointments are a critical step in launching the new Genzyme,” Meeker said. “Bill and Rogério are dynamic leaders with the experience, energy, vision and commitment to patients needed to move us forward.”

Genzyme is a Sanofi company.


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