PHARMACY

Biogen Idec turns 30

BY Drew Buono

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. This week marks the 30th anniversary of the biotech Biogen Idec.

“For 30 years, Biogen Idec has been transforming discoveries into breakthrough therapies that improve the lives of patients around the world,” said James Mullen, Biogen Idec’s chief executive officer. “With leading biotechnology products, a robust pipeline and talented people, we are delivering significant value for our patients and shareholders. Our prospects for future growth and success have never been better.”

Currently, Biogen Idec markets three major therapies. It has a multiple sclerosis franchise with Avonex and Tysarbi, which is co-marketed with Elan Pharmaceuticals. The company also co-markets with Genentech, Rituxan, a treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

The company’s product pipeline includes 15 products in Phase 2 and beyond, and its research and development is focused primarily on neurology, oncology and rheumatology, with emerging efforts in cardiopulmonary diseases and hemophilia.

Phillip Sharp, co-founder and a director of the company, said, “Thirty years ago, we could only have dreamed that the company we started would have the profound impact on patients that it has today. It is gratifying to see Biogen Idec’s spirit of innovation and perseverance continuing to drive excellence in research and development. The company has also outlined a comprehensive strategic growth plan that we believe will build on the exciting momentum underway.”

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Santen completes Phase III testing of eye drug

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Inspire Pharmaceuticals announced Friday a $1.25 million milestone payment from Japan-based company Santen Pharmaceutical for the completion of Phase III testing of the eye drug diquafosol tetrasodium, also known as DE-089. The two companies have a collaborative agreement to develop the drug.

DE-089 is designed to treat such eye-surface diseases as dry eye. Santen expects to file for marketing approval in Japan by June, and also plans to market the drug throughout Asia. Pending approval of DE-089 by regulatory agencies, Santen will market the drug while Inspire will receive royalties on net sales.

New York-based Inspire discovers, develops and commercializes ocular and respiratory drugs. Santen specializes in ocular and anti-rheumatic drugs and had headquarters in Osaka, Japan.

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Salix receives FDA approvable letter for Balsalazide colitis treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

RALEIGH, N.C. Salix Pharmaceuticals has received an approvable letter from the Food and Drug Administration for its ulcerative colitis drug Balsalazide Tablet NDA, the company announced May 16. The drug is designed to treat mild-to-moderate active ulcerative colitis in patients 18 years and older. The disease causes ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon.

Salix has headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., and specializes in drugs to treat gastrointestinal disorders. The company markets such drugs as Colazal (balsalazide disodium) capsules 750 mg, Xifaxan (rifaximin) tablets 200 mg, Osmoprep (sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, USP and sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous, USP) tablets and Moviprep (PEG 3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution.

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