PHARMACY

Watson acquires Ascent Pharmahealth

BY Allison Cerra

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals has acquired the Australia and Southeast Asia generic pharmaceutical business of Strides Arcolab for $392.4 million in cash.

The generic drug maker said its acquisition of Ascent Pharmahealth — whose portfolio includes generics, brands, branded-generic and over-the-counter and dermatology and skin care products — positions Watson as the fifth-largest generic pharmaceutical company in Australia, as well as the the largest generics company in Singapore, and gains an established commercial base in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand.

Watson currently operates in the Australian marketplace through its Spirit Pharmaceuticals subsidiary.

"We are committed to expanding our international commercial operations into geographies where we can capitalize on our existing assets and participate in growing and emerging markets," Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. "This acquisition complements our existing generic development and marketing capabilities in the important Australia market, and catapults us to a top five position that would have taken considerable time and investment to build organically. It also provides us with a leadership position in Southeast Asia, a region with more than 600 million consumers and overall annual generic sales of approximately $4.2 billion a year, which is projected to grow at more than 8% annually.

"The acquisition of Ascent provides Watson with a successful commercial structure in both Australia and Southeast Asia; we will retain the proven sales and marketing teams that have driven Ascent’s growth; we will have a larger portfolio of products, and gain a broader pipeline of products to support continued growth," Bisaro added. "We anticipate a seamless and rapid integration of the Ascent businesses."


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FDA approves new administration method for Takeda cancer drug

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new means of administering a cancer drug made by Takeda, the drug maker said.

The FDA approved injection under the skin of Velcade (bortezomib) for multiple myeloma and mantle-cell lymphoma, also known as subcutaneous injection.

Takeda said the approval was based on results of a phase-3 trial conducted on 222 patients who had not received the drug before that showed subcutaneous injection worked as well as intravenous injection.


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PHARMACY

FDA OKs Genzyme plant in Massachusetts

BY Allison Cerra

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new manufacturing plant that will be operated by drug maker Genzyme.

Genzyme said the plant, located in Framingham, Mass., will help the company continue the production of Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta), a Fabry disease treatment, so that patients can be return to the full dosing levels (1 mg/kg).

“We are very pleased with the FDA approval of our Framingham plant as we continue our manufacturing recovery and path forward to serve the Fabry patient community,” Genzyme president and CEO David Meeker said. “With this approval, we continue upon our 2012 plan to restore unconstrained supply for all patients globally throughout the course of the year.”


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