PHARMACY

Watson, Richter enter licensing agreement for Esmya

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A subsidiary of Watson Pharmaceuticals has entered a licensing agreement with a subsidiary of Hungarian drug maker Richter to develop and market a drug for uterine fibroids, the two companies said Thursday.

Watson Labs and PregLem said European studies had shown Esmya (ulipristal acetate) to be a safe and effective treatment for the disease, a benign tumor condition that affects between one-fifth and one-fourth of women of reproductive age worldwide. Watson expected to start phase-3 studies of the drug in the United States in 2011.

Under the agreement, Watson will pay PregLem $17 million plus royalties based on U.S. and Canadian sales, as well as milestone payments. The companies also will collaborate on additional formulations of the drug, sharing development costs.

“Esmya represents a significant strategic addition to our portfolio of women’s health products and is potentially the first effective treatment for uterine fibroids in more than 20 years,” Watson CEO Paul Bisaro said.

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Pfizer extends tender offer for King

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A subsidiary of Pfizer has extended the expiration date of its tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of King Pharmaceuticals.

Parker Tennessee’s tender offer now is scheduled to expire Jan. 21, as certain conditions to the tender offer wouldn’t have been satisfied by the previously scheduled expiration date — which was Dec. 17 — including the expiration or earlier termination of any waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Other terms and conditions of the offer remain unchanged. Pfizer and King expected the deal to be completed by first quarter 2011.

Back in October, Pfizer announced it would acquire Bristol, Tenn.-based King for $3.6 billion, or $14.25 per share.

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Biodel’s Steiner to retire, remains board member

BY Allison Cerra

DANBURY, Conn. — A drug maker specializing in the treatment of diabetes announced the retirement of its chief scientific officer.

Biodel this week said Solomon Steiner, who is a company co-founder, will remain on the company’s board of directors. Prior to holding his chief scientific officer position, Steiner was chairman, president and CEO of Biodel from its inception in late 2003 through March of this year, at which point Errol De Souza was appointed to be the company’s president and chief executive, and Charles Sanders was named board chairman.

"In 2003, I started Biodel with a vision of making a difference in patients’ lives," Steiner said. "Over the course of seven years, I have had the privilege of assembling a talented scientific team and working with them to create a portfolio of product candidates, which continues to grow. I am confident that with Errol De Souza’s leadership, this team will be able to bring these important innovations to market for the benefit of patients everywhere. I look forward to continuing to advise Biodel as a member of the board of directors."

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