PHARMACY

AstraZeneca withdraws cancer drug from regulatory review

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON AstraZeneca has withdrawn its regulatory approval application for the use of a cancer drug combined with chemotherapy in patients with a form of lung cancer because it didn’t improve patients’ odds of survival, the Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced Wednesday.

The company withdrew the application for Zactima (vandetanib) in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer taking chemotherapy, saying the drug did not provide an overall advantage to patients in terms of survival and that it had also received feedback from regulatory agencies that the drug may not be good enough for approval.

The company said late-stage clinical trial results showed that Zactima became active when combined with chemotherapy and that it would complete phase 3 trials to get a more complete idea of the drug’s efficacy.

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Pleio’s medication adherence program yields positive results

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA A company that runs a medication adherence program said its program had a “highly significant” effect.

Pleio Health Support Systems announced Monday results of the Pleio GoodStart program, analyzing data from 1,776 patients taking a chronic cardiovascular medication between May 2008 and 2009 that showed patients refilled an average of two additional 30-day prescriptions during their initial nine-month period of taking the medication.

Patients in the GoodStart program also refilled their prescriptions an average of 10 days sooner than those in the control group, Pleio said.

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Deloitte report: Pharmaceutical companies’ ‘patent cliff’ could bolster mergers, acquisitions

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A wave of acquisitions indicates a trend of consolidation in the drug industry, as companies seek ways to build up their research and development pipelines while reducing overhead costs, according to a report released Tuesday by professional services firm Deloitte.

One of the factors driving mergers is that drugs representing more than $74 billion in sales will lose patent protection by 2012, which many analysts have come to call the “patent cliff.”

“With so many rapidly changing dynamics – the patent cliff, healthcare reform and still-dry capital markets – the trends in life sciences industry consolidation are almost certain to continue with a growing emphasis on those deals with companies involved with late-stage developed compounds,” Deloitte & Touche partner Phil Pfrang said in a statement. “Healthy companies have good cause to pursue deals that promise faster revenue streams and profits.”

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