PHARMACY

AstraZeneca tours United States for atherosclerosis awareness

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. A drug maker is touring the country with a device that gives people an up-close look at one of the country’s worst killers.

AstraZeneca announced Tuesday that it would take the Artery Explorer – a multi-sensory motion simulator that helps people visualize atherosclerosis – to 17 cities across the country as part of the 2009 US AGAINST ATHERO tour.

“The US AGAINST ATHERO movement made great strides in mobilizing Americans to make healthy choices,” University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center professor and chief of clinical cardiology George Kondos said in a statement. “However, there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque in the inner walls of arteries. According to the American Heart Association, it is the leading cause of coronary heart disease, which affects 1.2 million Americans and is the no. 1 killer in the country. Nearly 800,000 Americans will have their first heart attack this year, according to National Institutes of Health statistics.

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PHARMACY

AstraZeneca, BioDuro to expand partnership

BY Alaric DeArment

BEIJING AstraZeneca and BioDuro announced Monday that they would expand their collaboration to find new drugs to treat respiratory and inflammatory diseases.

BioDuro, a life science outsourcing company with 580 employees in Beijing, said it would provide research services in discovery chemistry and biology, as well as drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics and absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity services to help drug-discovery efforts.

“BioDuro is pleased to build upon this existing collaboration and work closely with the experienced team at AstraZeneca to develop new clinical compounds for respiratory and inflammatory indications,” BioDuro CEO John Oyler said in a statement. “This partnership demonstrates the strength of our innovation, quality and our fully integrated R&D service platform.”

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Study discovers additional use for breast cancer antibody

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland A study involving almost 600 patients has shown that adding a monoclonal antibody normally used to treat breast cancer to standard chemotherapy prolongs the lives of patients with HER2-positive stomach cancer.

The international phase 3 study, dubbed ToGA, enrolled 594 patients. Patients were randomly placed into two groups, one that received chemotherapy alone and one that received chemotherapy with Roche’s Herceptin (trastuzumab).

“The ToGA study shows for the first time that Herceptin extends the lives of patients in a cancer other than breast cancer,” stated Roche Pharmaceuticals Division CEO William Burns. “Advanced stomach cancer is a devastating disease for which there are currently few treatment options.”

Genentech, which recently agreed to be acquired by Roche, markets Herceptin in the United States. Chugai markets it in Japan, and Roche markets it elsewhere.

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