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Annies shakes up frozen-food aisle with pizza party

BY Ryan Chavis

BERKELEY, Calif. — Annie's launched two new frozen-food options in an effort to provide consumers with a healthier snacking alternative. 
 
Annie's Pizza Poppers come in three bite-sized varieties: Three Cheese Pizza Poppers; Uncured Pepperoni Pizza Poppers; and Combination Pizza Poppers. All varieties contain 7 g of protein per serving and can be prepared in a microwave or oven. 
 
Annie's Mini Pizza Bagels also are available in three different varieties: Three Cheese Mini Pizza Bagels; Uncured Pepperoni Mini Pizza Bagels; and Combination Mini Pizza Bagels. The bagels pack 10 g of protein per serving and also can be easily prepared in a microwave or oven. 
 
The pizza poppers carry a suggested retail price of $3.99, while the pizza bagels are available for a SRP of $4.99. The products currently are available at Target stores across the country. 
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FDA grants accelerated approval to Merck’s Keytruda

BY Ryan Chavis

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck on Thursday announced that the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma. An improvement in survival or disease-related symptoms hasn't been established yet, but the tumor response rate and durability response prompted the agency to grant accelerated approval, the company said. 
 
Keytruda is the first anti-PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) therapy approved in the United States, according to the company. The drug consists of a humanized monoclonal antibody that increases the ability for the patient's immune system to fight advanced melanoma. 
 
“Keytruda embodies Merck’s unwavering commitment to pursue breakthrough science to help people who are facing the most challenging diseases,” said Kenneth Frazier, chairman and CEO, Merck. “We are grateful to the people with advanced melanoma who participated in our trials, and the scientific and medical community for the shared effort that has led to the accelerated approval of Keytruda.”
 
Merck plans to make the drug available within one week following the FDA's approval. 
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True Nopal Cactus Water now available at select Costco locations

BY Ryan Chavis

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — True Nopal announced that its line of True Nopal Cactus Water will be available in the Los Angeles region and Hawaii CostCo locations beginning in September. The company will sell the water in a four pack of 1-liter Tetra Paks. 
 
"We are thrilled to be working with Costco to get True Nopal into the hands of more consumers.  For many, Costco will provide people with their first taste of True Nopal Cactus water through Costco's sampling program," said Tom Zummo, CEO of True Nopal's parent company True Me Brands. "Costco is a great platform to show consumers who we are.  Our bright-colored packaging will attract consumer's attention and our great taste and nutritional benefits will keep them coming back."
 
Zummo added that the cactus water has enjoyed extraordinary growth, experiencing an expansion to more than 2,500 retailers since the product first appeared on shelves in May 2014. 
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