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Study: Remicade more efficient in treating Crohn’s disease than generic competitor

BY Alaric DeArment

HORSHAM, Pa. Patients who had not received previous treatment recovered and healed better when taking a Johnson & Johnson biotech drug for Crohn’s disease than when taking a common generic drug for the disease, according to post-marketing clinical trial results published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Results of a phase 4 study comparing J&J’s Remicade (infliximab) with azathioprine showed that a larger number of patients had steroid-free remission and mucosal healing when taking Remicade than when they took azathioprine. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory, autoimmune disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that affects around half a million Americans.

“The results provide new insights into the benefits of starting Remicade alone or in combination with azathioprine –– earlier in the treatment of moderate to severe Crohn’s disease,” principal study investigator and medicine professor of France’s Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Lille Jean-Frederic Colombel said.

The investigators found that after 26 weeks, 57% of patients taking Remicade and azathioprine together and 44% of those taking Remicade alone had remission of their disease without steroids, compared with 30% of those taking azathioprine alone.

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FMI praises Brown’s Super Markets president’s commitment to consumers

BY Allison Cerra

ARLINGTON, Va. An organization representing food retailers and wholesalers praised one grocery chain head’s commitment to improving the availability of nutritious food for its consumers.

The Food Marketing Institute that testimony presented before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry by Jeff Brown, president and owner of Brown’s Super Markets, shows how partnerships with federal and community leaders “can overcome the challenges inherent in building stores in underserved areas.”

“Food Marketing Institute applauds Jeff Brown for sharing his vision and success in bringing fresh, affordable and nutritious food to low-income Americans in areas that lack ready access to supermarkets, said Leslie Sarasin, FMI president and CEO. “Retail food stores are the cornerstone of communities nationwide, creating numerous jobs and serving as catalyst for economic growth.”

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Pfizer Oncology to present cancer drugs at annual cancer research conference

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Presenters from Pfizer’s cancer drugs unit will have a lot of work to do at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington this weekend.

Pfizer Oncology announced Wednesday that the company would present data on investigational cancer drugs such as figitumumab, a monoclonal antibody for lung cancer, as well as Sutent (sunitinib) and the kidney cancer drug axitinib, as well as drugs for lymphoma and others.

“Pfizer’s data at AACR demonstrate our strategic focus on the discovery and development of novel mechanisms that align complex biology with creative clinical strategies,” Pfizer Oncology Research Unit chief scientific officer Neil Gibson said. “Our research on the mutations and pathways that are genetic drivers of the segments of disease, defined by specific ‘genetic signatures,’ is designed to help us identify patient populations that will derive the most benefit from the novel therapeutic modalities we discover and develop.”

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