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AmerisourceBergen invests in Brazilian wholesaler

BY Michael Johnsen

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen on Monday announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire a minority stake in Profarma Distribuidora de Produtos Farmacêuticos S.A., a leading pharmaceutical wholesaler in Brazil. In addition, AmerisourceBergen and Profarma will establish a joint venture for specialty distribution and services. 

“We are very excited to partner with Profarma as we continue to expand our reach into growing international markets,” stated Steven Collis, president and CEO AmerisourceBergen. “With its long-term macroeconomic growth outlook, favorable demographics and increasing access to healthcare services and specialty pharmaceuticals, the Brazilian market affords us a tremendous opportunity to expand our international offerings. Profarma’s success in the wholesale distribution, chain and independent retail, and specialty markets, combined with our expertise in specialty distribution and manufacturer services provides a compelling opportunity to shape the delivery of healthcare in Brazil.”

The company expects to invest a total of approximately $100 million, and the transaction is expected to close in the June quarter of 2014.  

Sammy Birmarcker, CEO Profarma, highlighted the positive effects that the association with AmerisourceBergen should bring for the operations of Profarma Specialty, such as access to new medicines, equipment, services and practices that currently do not exist in Brazil. “We hope the country will soon be able to benefit from the technological advances that are already available to the specialty pharmaceutical distribution industry in more evolved markets abroad,” Birmarcker said. “We believe that the experience acquired by Profarma over the course of its 52 years of activities, combined with the technology and expertise of AmerisourceBergen in rendering new services, will provide a favorable environment for the development of Profarma Specialty in Brazil." 

AmerisourceBergen will purchase up to a 19.9% minority stake by offering Brazilian Real $22.50 per share (U.S.$9.68 per share) for shares offered in a primary offering by Profarma. The specialty distribution joint venture will include Profarma’s existing specialty businesses and an equity investment from AmerisourceBergen, and each company will own a 50% stake in the joint venture.

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Family Dollar names new SVP supply chain

BY Michael Johnsen

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores on Monday named Brian Hancock to the position of SVP supply chain. Hancock will report to Howard Levine, Family Dollar chairman and CEO.

“Since we opened our first store in 1959, our focus has been on providing our customers with great value and convenience. In today’s competitive retail environment, building an efficient, end-to-end supply chain is critical to providing our customers with the compelling values they have come to rely on Family Dollar to deliver,” Levine said. “With Brian’s diverse and extensive background in merchandising, logistics and strategic planning, I know his expertise will help our team achieve our current and future growth initiatives.”

Prior to joining to Family Dollar, Hancock served as president North American division for the Martin–Brower Company, one of the largest suppliers of food and materials to McDonald’s restaurants worldwide, where he was responsible for all strategic and operational functions in North America. Previous to that, he served as VP global supply chain for Whirlpool. Hancock also held various positions with Schneider National, a privately held transportation and logistics leader. 

Hancock holds a master’s degree in business from Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

 

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Otezla approved for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis

BY Michael Johnsen

SUMMIT, N.J. — Celgene on Friday announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved Otezla (apremilast), the company’s oral, selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis. A chronic disorder, psoriatic arthritis is characterized by pain, stiffness, swelling and tenderness of the joints, inflammation of specific ligaments and tendons, and a decrease in physical functioning. Otezla is the only FDA-approved oral treatment for psoriatic arthritis.

Otezla is expected to be available in the United States in March 2014 and will be dispensed through a comprehensive network of specialty pharmacies.

"Patients and physicians have expressed their desire for a safe and effective therapy for psoriatic arthritis that has the potential to simplify patient management. Celgene is excited to be expanding our transformational science into the therapeutic realm of Inflammation and Immunology, with a new approach for patients with psoriatic arthritis," stated Scott Smith, global head, Inflammation and Immunology, Celgene Corporation. "The FDA approval of Otezla is good news for patients and healthcare professionals who are looking for a different way to manage this disease."

"Otezla works differently from other therapies approved for psoriatic arthritis through the intracellular inhibition of PDE4," stated Philip Mease, director of the Rheumatology Clinical Research Division of Swedish Medical Center and Clinical Professor, University of Washington. "The approval of an oral therapy with a novel mechanism of action for patients with psoriatic arthritis offers a different approach to patient care."

A characteristic of psoriatic arthritis is tenderness and swelling in and around the joints. At week 16, patients treated with Otezla achieved a reduction in tender and swollen joint counts compared with placebo. Otezla treatment resulted in improvement for each of the seven American College of Rheumatology components measured, compared with placebo, at week 16. Improvements were also seen in disease-related physical functioning.

Treatment with Otezla resulted in improvement in dactylitis (inflammation of fingers and toes) and enthesitis (inflammation at sites where tendons or ligaments insert into bone) in patients with these pre-existing symptoms. Enthesitis and dactylitis are specific disease manifestations related to psoriatic arthritis.

In Otezla clinical trials, the majority of the most common adverse reactions occurred within the first two weeks of treatment and tended to resolve over time with continued dosing. Adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients on Otezla 30 mg twice daily and at least 1%  greater than that observed in patients on placebo for up to 16 weeks were diarrhea, nausea, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, vomiting, nasopharyngitis and upper abdominal pain. The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to any adverse reaction was 4.6% for patients taking Otezla 30 mg twice daily and 1.2% for patients taking placebo. The most common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation among patients treated up to 16 weeks with OTEZLA 30 mg twice daily were nausea (1.8%), diarrhea (1.8%) and headache (1.2%).

 

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