PHARMACY

AstraZeneca discontinues development of RSV drug

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON — An Anglo-Swedish drug maker said it is discontinuing further development of a drug that is designed to prevent a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.

AstraZeneca has requested the withdrawal of its pending biological license application for motavizumab from the Food and Drug Administration. Motavizumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody that could prevent serious respiratory syncytial virus disease.

AstraZeneca said it will incur a financial impairment charge of $445 million in fourth quarter 2010.

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Court blocks AstraZeneca’s suits over Crestor

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A judge recently blocked AstraZeneca from attempting to impede the development of generic versions of its popular cholesterol drug, according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that a judge from the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Wilmington) said that the drug maker can’t use its patents expiring in 2018 and 2022 to prevent such companies as Mylan and Teva from developing generic versions of Crestor, since the patents only cover the methods of using the medicine. The generic drug makers are not required to put those uses on their labels, the judge said.

Back in June, AstraZeneca’s patent was upheld by the court, which protects Crestor from generic competition in the United States until 2016.

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Novo Nordisk, Emisphere enter insulin deal

BY Allison Cerra

PRINCETON, N.J. — A biopharmaceutical company exclusively will develop and commercialize oral formulations of a drug maker’s insulins.

Emisphere will be paid $57.5 million in potential product development and sales milestone payments by Novo Nordisk — of which $5 million dollars will be payable upon signing — as well as royalties on sales. Further financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The announcement marks the second deal between the two companies. The first, which gave way to oral formulations development of GLP-1 receptor agonists, was inked in 2008.

"This is an encouraging agreement on a promising technology for oral administration of proteins. We are delighted to continue working with Emisphere and their Eligen technology. It fits very well with Novo Nordisk’s strategy within diabetes research," said Peter Kurtzhals, SVP diabetes research unit at Novo Nordisk.

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