PHARMACY

Synta and GSK enter into $1.1 billion deal

BY Drew Buono

LONDON and LEXINGTON, Mass. Synta Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline have agreed on a collaboration for the joint development and commercialization of STA-4783, a new drug entering phase-three clinical development for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will share responsibility for the development and commercialization of the drug in the United States, with GlaxoSmithKline having exclusive rights outside of the United States.  Synta can earn up to $1.1 billion as a result of this agreement in development, upfront payments, stock purchases and milestone payments.

“This agreement confirms GSK’s growing status as a world leader in the development of new oncology medicines for use in the treatment, prevention and supportive care of cancer patients.  It further strengthens our late stage oncology pipeline, which currently includes ten phase-three programs, and also demonstrates our commitment to identifying compounds that have the potential to deliver real benefit to patients,” said Moncef Slaoui, chairman of research and development at GSK.  “The data we have seen from the phase-two trials conducted by Synta have given us confidence in the potential of STA-4783 as a novel means of treating metastatic melanoma, a disease for which there is high unmet medical need.”

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Pfizer wins lawsuit over Viagra patent

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK The Canadian Federal Court has decided that Apotex’s proposed generic version of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra will infringe on one of Pfizer’s patents on the brand name drug.

The court has granted Pfizer’s request for an order to prevent Apotex from launching the generic version until the patent expires in 2014.

Apotex plans on appealing the ruling, which could take up to a year.

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AstraZeneca to Provide Free Medicines to Illinois’ Largest Free Clinic

BY Allison Cerra

WILMINGTON, Del. AstraZeneca announced that CommunityHealth in Chicago, Illinois has enrolled in the pharmaceutical giant?s newest prescription savings program, which provides medicines free of charge to community healthcare facilities.

The AZ&Me Prescription Savings program for healthcare facilities is available to non-profit organizations that have a licensed outpatient pharmacy or dispensary on site and meet other program criteria. Patients are eligible for AstraZeneca medicines through this program if they do not have prescription drug coverage and have a household income at or below $30,000 for an individual, or $60,000 for a family of four.

“There are 1.3 million uninsured in Chicago and the surrounding area. MedAccess Chicago is designed to help address that problem by putting prescription medications within reach of those who desperately need but cannot afford them,” said Judith Haasis, executive director of CommunityHealth. “With partners like AstraZeneca, we are able to better serve those patients who are falling through the cracks.”

CommunityHealth, the largest free clinic in Illinois and one of the largest in the United States, recently announced the opening of MedAccess Chicago, a licensed pharmacy housed at the health center that will make free prescription medications available to uninsured patients throughout the city.

Through the AZ&Me Prescription Savings program for healthcare facilities, AstraZeneca is planning to provide free medicines to approximately 250 facilities by the end of 2008.

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