PHARMACY

AstraZeneca announces layoffs of about 1,400 employees

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK While it challenges Teva’s sales of a generic version of one of its drugs, AstraZeneca is also cutting 1,400 jobs.

The British-Swedish drug maker plans to shut down plants in Spain, Belgium and Sweden by 2013 and will have cut 7,600 jobs by 2010.

The cuts come amid a New Jersey District Court’s granting of an order forbidding Teva from marketing a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Pulmicort Respules (budesonide), an asthma treatment. Under the order, AstraZeneca and partner Par Pharmaceuticals are also barred from selling their own authorized generic version of the drug.

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FDA, SciClone meet agreement on distribution of melanoma treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration has reached an agreement with a drug maker on the design of a phase 3 trial of a skin cancer drug.

SciClone Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that it had reached the agreement with the agency concerning the drug thymalfasin, which it sees as a potential treatment for stage 4 melanoma.

“Patients suffering from stage 4 melanoma have very few treatment options available,” SciClone chief medical officer Israel Rios said in a statement. “Based on the positive data from an earlier phase 2 trial, thymalfasin could provide new treatment modalities for this high unmet medical need.”

The drug, if approved, will be sold under the brand name Zadaxin. The full name of its active ingredient is thymosin alpha 1.

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Teva releases generic version of AstraZeneca’s Pulmicort

BY Alaric DeArment

NORTH WALES, Pa. The world’s largest maker of generic drugs has introduced a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Pulmicort Respules.

Teva announced Wednesday that it had launched budesonide inhalation suspension, a treatment for asthma, in 0.25-mg-per-2-milliliters and 0.5-mg-per-2-milliliter strengths.

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