PHARMACY

Anaysis shows Revlimid/dexamethasone combo extends life in multiple myeloma patients

BY Alaric DeArment

COPENHAGEN, Denmark A new drug in phase III testing shows promise in increasing survival rates of patients with multiple myeloma, according to results presented Saturday at the 13th European Hematology Association in Copenhagen.

Celgene International Sarl’s Revlimid, given in combination with dexamethasone, increased by an average of 5.6 years the lives of patients with the deadly blood cancer.

Multiple myeloma causes overproduction of malignant plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell. Normal plasma cells produce antibodies that help the immune system. The malignant cells, however, produce antibodies that don’t help the body. They eventually replace the normal plasma cells, as well as other white blood cells. They also attach themselves to other cells and create tumors. The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation estimates that 19,920 new cases of the cancer will be diagnosed this year.

Based in Boudry, Switzerland, Celgene International Sarl is a wholly owned subsidiary of Summit, N.J.-based Celgene Corporation.

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Mass. approves $1 billion for state life sciences industry

BY Drew Buono

BOSTON The Massachusetts Senate has approved a $1 billion dollar bill designed to help development in the state’s life sciences industry, according to the Boston Globe.

The House passed the bill on Wednesday, which was followed by the Senate’s 31 to 7 vote in favor of approving the bill, a central piece of Governor Deval Patrick’s agenda.

The governor expects to sign the bill Monday, said his spokeswoman, Becky Deusser. Lawmakers are hoping to trumpet the legislation at an international biotechnology conference next week in San Diego.

Proponents of the bill said in Senate debate that the bill would boost the state’s economy while developing life-saving treatments. “This isn’t just for one industry. This will have an enormous impact over a longer run,” said Senator Harriette Chandler, a Worcester Democrat. She said the bill would also have an “absolutely revolutionary” impact on healthcare.

Senate minority leader Richard Tisei told members that the bill was an example of “pork barrel spending. …I just remind you that it’s the taxpayers that are paying. … It’s taxpayers’ money, it doesn’t grow on trees.”

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nFinanSe raises $10.7 million in securities sale

BY Drew Buono

TAMPA, Fla. The prepaid and gift card company nFinanSe has raised $10.7 million through the issuance of almost 1.5 million share of its common stock, about 4 million shares of its Series C Convertible Preferred stock and warrants to purchase over 2.6 million shares of its common stock.

Each share of the Series C Convertible Preferred Stock is convertible into one share of the company’s common stock. Both the Series C Convertible Preferred Stock and the common stock were sold at the purchase price of $2.00 per share. The warrants entitle holders to purchase shares of common stock at an exercise price of $2.30 per share.

In addition, the nFinanSe has closed on its previously announced $15.5 million accounts receivable line of credit with certain institutional investors and shareholders of the company, including Ballyshannon Partners, an affiliate of one of its directors. This line of credit will be used solely to support the company’s reloadable prepaid and gift cards at retail store locations.

Jerry Welch, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “The prepaid card industry is a rapidly growing and very dynamic sector of the U.S. economy. This financing, which will provide the company with over $26 million of capital, enhances our financial condition, strengthens our balance sheet and helps position us to aggressively pursue market share in the prepaid card marketplace.”

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