PHARMACY

Avalon, Novartis to collaborate on drug discovery

BY Drew Buono

GERMANTOWN, Md. Avalon Pharmaceuticals has begun the next phase in its drug discovery collaboration with Novartis. The collaboration aims to discover small molecule therapeutic compounds targeted against a pathway selected by Novartis.

The terms of the collaboration provide for upfront, research support and milestone payments made by Novartis. Details, however, were not disclosed.

Avalon is using technology it created to look at what drugs can be developed from a library of chemical compounds that Novartis owns.

“We are very pleased with the progress of this collaboration,” stated Stephen K. Horrigan, vice president of research. “Our AvalonRx drug discovery platform brings real value to programs through greater speed in identifying compounds with more selectivity against virtually any pathway or target, including those which historically have been considered undruggable.”

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Celgene sees year-to-year revenue increase of more than 50 percent

BY Drew Buono

WARREN, N.J. Celgene’s revenue increased by more than 50 percent in 2007 as compared to 2006. The growth was due to sales of its cancer drug Revlimid.

Revlimid is used in combination with the corticosteroid dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma patients who have received at least one prior therapy. Net sales of the drug increased more than 140 percent in 2007 to nearly $775 million.

The company also reported good sales results for its skin disease treatment drug Thalomid, the chemotherapy drug Alkeran and the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs Focalin XR and Ritalin and the Ritalin family of products.

The company expects revenue to increase more than 30 percent this year to approximately $1.8 billion and adjusted diluted earnings per share to increase approximately 45 percent up to $1.55.

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Valeant divests Infergen rights to Three Rivers

BY Drew Buono

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has completed its divestment of the rights to its hepatitis C drug Infergen in the U.S. and Canada to Three Rivers Pharmaceuticals.

Under the terms of the agreement, Valeant received from Three Rivers an initial payment of about $70.8 million in cash and will receive up to $20.5 million in two noncontingent payments over the next 18 months.

The company had been looking to sell the drug since the third quarter of 2007 due to poor sales.

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