PHARMACY

Axium adds new drugs to HepVisions therapy management program

BY Alaric DeArment

LAKE MARY, Fla. — Specialty pharmacy provider Axium Healthcare Pharmacy has introduced two recently approved hepatitis C drugs to its HepVisions therapy management program, the company said Thursday.

Axium announced the addition of Merck ’s Victrelis (boceprevir) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ Incivek (telaprevir) to the program, through which it provides comprehensive compliance support, patient education, side effect management, clinical interventions and communication with the patient and physician.

“Axium is pleased to add Victrelis and Incivek to the HepVisions program,” Axium president and CEO Mark Montgomery said. “The new triple therapy regimen is complex and expensive. Careful patient education, monitoring and adherence are keys to successful treatment.”

Both of the drugs are approved for use in a triple therapy that includes pegylated interferon, a type of biotech drug used for hepatitis C, and ribavirin, a generic antiviral.

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Sanofi, Audion enter research collaboration for hearing loss treatments

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS — French drug maker Sanofi has entered a collaboration with Audion Therapeutics to develop treatments for hearing loss.

Sanofi announced the collaboration Thursday, which will utilize technology that Audion co-founder Albert Edge developed at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory. Sanofi will have the option of licensing technology rights from Audion related to research conducted under the collaboration.

“Our new relationship with Audion demonstrates our commitment to work with partners on conditions with unmet and growing medical needs, such as hearing loss,” Sanofi president for global research and development Elias Zerhouni said.

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FDA approves Nulojix

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for preventing organ rejection in kidney transplant patients, the agency said Wednesday.

The FDA approved Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Nulojix (belatacept), for preventing acute rejection in adult patients. The drug is approved for use with other immune system-suppressing drugs, specifically Novartis’ Simulect (basiliximab), Genentech’s CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) and corticosteroids.

“Nulojix is a new option for kidney transplant patients,” FDA Office of Antimicrobial Products director Edward Cox said. “This new medication, used in combination with other immunosuppressants, helps control the immune system and prevents organ rejection in patients receiving kidney transplants.”

According to BusinessWeek, analyst John Boris said that while Nulojix’s market is limited, he expects the drug to have sales of about $350 million in 2015. About 17,000 to 18,000 kidney transplants are performed in the United States per year, while more than 86,000 patients were awaiting transplants as of March 2010, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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