PHARMACY

Report finds vaccines are major area of growth

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The report by Kalorama Information indicating that one of the biggest areas of growth has been vaccines, and that the market is expected to double by 2013, is big news for the industry, as pharmacies and retail-based clinics are bound to reap the benefits.

This is especially true given the current trajectory health reform is on in this country, and the fact that clinics and pharmacies are emerging and expanding their services to help fill the “medical home” void.

The role that pharmacies and retail-based clinics play in being a vaccine destination will grow increasingly important also in light of the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for consumers to get next season both a seasonal influenza vaccine and an H1N1, or Swine Flu, vaccine. The H1N1 strain has been officially raised to pandemic status.

Novartis has completed the first batch of influenza A(H1N1) vaccine, the vaccine against the novel H1N1 influenza virus, and plans to start clinical trials with that vaccine in July. Licensure is expected in the fall 2009.

More than 30 governments have made requests to Novartis to supply them with influenza A(H1N1) vaccine ingredients, including a $289 million order made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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PHARMACY

Xenon, Merck team up for cardiovascular disease treatment research

BY Anna Mcgrath

Xenon announced its recent partnership with Merck and Co. to study innovative small molecule candidates for the potential treatment of cardiovascular disease.

According to their agreement, Merck has the option to exclusively license targets and compounds from Xenon for development and commercialization. Xenon then receives research funding and eligibility for exercise fees, research, development and regulatory milestone payments of up to $94.5 million for the first target and up to $89.5 million for each subsequent target used for drug discovery. Xenon will also receive an undisclosed percentage of product sales and retains the right to develop and commercialize certain compounds

Michael Hayden, CSO of Xenon added, “We recognize that Merck is a leading pharmaceutical company with significant presence in and commitment to the cardiovascular space and they are an ideal strategic partner for Xenon. This new alliance, which represents our fifth partnership with a major pharmaceutical company, once again highlights Xenon’s R&D capabilities and validates our drug discovery platform.”

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Seroquel for adolescents

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration has given a positive review to an AstraZeneca drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced that the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee had given favorable review to its supplemental approval application for Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate). AstraZeneca is seeking approval for the drug as a treatment for schizophrenia in adolescents ages 13 to 17 and bipolar mania in children and adolescents ages 10 to 17.

“We are pleased that the committee found Seroquel to be effective and acceptably safe for treating adolescents with schizophrenia and children and adolescents with biopolar mania, and we look forward to having further discussions with the FDA regarding the sNDAs,” AstraZeneca chief medical officer Howard Hutchinson said in a statement, referring to the company’s supplemental new drug applications.

The same day the advisory committee made its decision about Seroquel, it also voted in favor of Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa (olanzapine) as a treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar episodes in adolescents, ages 13 to 17.

The committee’s decisions do not constitute approval, but the FDA takes them into consideration when deciding whether to approve a drug.

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