UCB, Harvard enter research alliance focused on central nervous system, immunology
BOSTON and BRUSSELS — Drug maker UCB and Harvard University have entered a research alliance that is designed to advance ongoing Harvard research projects along the drug development pathway.
UCB said it will bring its expertise in antibody generation and medicinal chemistry into the alliance and will provide up to $6 million over two years to fund specific innovative research projects led by Harvard scientists. The collaboration focuses on the central nervous system and immunology, UCB said.
The first research project funded under the Harvard-UCB alliance is a collaboration with Gokhan Hotamisligil, professor and chair of the department of genetics and complex diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health.
"Harvard’s world-class academic research is an excellent fit with UCB’s world-class antibody research and central nervous system pharmacology," said Ismail Kola, president of UCB new medicines. "Both parties will learn from each other through the collaboration and a two-way exchange of ideas. Harvard will benefit from UCB’s strengths and industry experience in drug discovery and development, while Harvard’s exceptional research will complement UCB’s internal expertise."
Impax settles patent litigation relating to Welchol products
HAYWARD, Calif. — Impax Labs has agreed not to market a generic version of a drug designed to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in tablet form until 2015.
Impax said the agreement was part of a pending patent litigation between Impax and Daiichi Sankyo and Genzyme, the makers of Welchol (colesevelam HCl) tablets in the 625-mg strength, as well as oral suspensions in 1.875 g/packet and 3.75 g/packet sizes. Under the terms of the agreement, Impax will launch its tablet product on March 2, 2015 or earlier under certain circumstances. Terms pertaining to the launch of generic Welchol oral suspension products by Impax were not disclosed.
U.S. sales of Welchol tablets and Welchol oral suspension were approximately $325 million and $65 million, respectively, for the 12-month period ended in May, according to Wolters Kluwer Health data.
NACDS seeks to renew focus on value of community pharmacy
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Amid ongoing economic challenges and a continued debate about the best uses of healthcare dollars in private and public healthcare plans, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday called for a renewed focus on the value of community pharmacy.
"The nation and the states need policy-makers, and the healthcare community needs decision-makers, who recognize the power of community pharmacy services to lower overall healthcare costs and improve patient health, and who do not fall into the short-sighted trap of viewing pharmacy services and prescription drug costs in a vacuum. This is a critical message that is taking root among forward-thinking and results-oriented policy-makers, payers and employers," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson stated.
He added that the current environment has underscored the importance of NACDS’ effort to emphasize community pharmacy’s role as the face of neighborhood health care.
"The public needs to hear even more about successes like North Carolina’s ChecKmeds NC program, which is an example of how face-to-face medication therapy management services for Medicare patients have helped to deliver a return on investment of $13.55 for every $1 invested," Anderson said. "North Carolina is an example of the benefits of viewing pharmacy services broadly and correctly, in the context of reducing overall healthcare costs. This is a vital message for public and private payers alike: Now is not the time to cut pharmacy reimbursement, but rather to unleash the unsurpassed power of community pharmacy to improve health and reduce costs across the board."
With the nearing of the 2012 elections, and even the 2011 off-year state elections, be certain that NACDS’ political involvement and other programs will reflect this focus on pharmacy’s value.
Anderson announced the next and more robust phase of NACDS’ proactive campaign to educate elected officials and candidates at the national and state levels — and to evaluate NACDS’ support for candidates based on their recognition of community pharmacy¹s ability to improve health and reduce overall healthcare costs.
NACDS will engage its NACDS RxImpact Votes program and other initiatives to help drive home the message of pharmacies as the face of neighborhood health care. NACDS RxImpact Votes helps pharmacies provide educational information to employees about registering to vote, volunteering for campaigns and getting out to vote on Election Day. In addition, NACDS is working with member pharmacies to invite candidates for pharmacy tours, to volunteer for candidates’ healthcare advisory panels, to participate in the interviewing of candidates regarding their positions on pharmacy issues and to raise awareness of activities of the NACDS Political Action Committee.
NACDS stated that it currently is working on a one-on-one basis with member companies to identify their current political programs and to tailor the association’s support for these company initiatives on a customized basis.
"Our message is simple: There is no greater partner for the health of patients and for the vitality of the healthcare delivery system than community pharmacy," Anderson said.