PHARMACY

Biotech co. MDRNA, Novartis enter licensing agreement

BY Alaric DeArment

BOTHELL, Wash. A Pacific Northwest biotechnology company has agreed to license one of its technologies to Swiss drug maker Novartis.

MDRNA said Monday that it had entered an agreement with Novartis to license its liposomal technology platform for siRNA delivery to the drug maker. Under the deal, MDRNA will receive $7.25 million in upfront fees for the non-exclusive license. A separate agreement will allow Novartis to negotiate a research and development collaboration and broader licensing rights related to MDRNA’s RNAi drug-delivery platform, though terms of the second deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Novartis, a global leader in the field of RNAi-based therapeutics,” MDRNA president and CEO J. Michael French said in a statement.

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Major drug co. seeks to improve health care in China

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A U.S. drug maker is collaborating with a microfinance company to find ways to expand health care among the poor in China.

Pfizer announced that it would work with PlaNet Finance to conduct an in-depth research project on the health care needs of China’s working poor. The study will examine availability of medicines, patient purchasing patterns and levels of access to healthcare services.

“Pfizer’s partnership with PlaNet Finance is aligned with the strategy to expand our geographic reach across China,” said Jean-Michel Halfon, Pfizer Emerging Markets Business Unit president and general manager. “I am extremely confident that this partnership will also achieve the broader aim of identifying unique and workable solutions for the diverse medical needs of patients in emerging markets.”

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NCFPDP announces the formation of healthcare standards organization

BY Alaric DeArment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. An organization recognizing prescription programs announced Thursday the formation of an association to develop healthcare standards.

The National Council For Prescription Drug Programs said it would form the Standards Charter Organization, a collaboration of U.S. healthcare standards development organizations.

The goals of the new organization, which began to take shape last year, are developing an executive forum and process for senior leadership of the U.S. healthcare standards development community to have strategic and tactical dialogue, planning and collaboration; and to unify and harmonize healthcare industry standards to meet the interoperability and standards definition needs of all healthcare stakeholders.

“The healthcare industry has made great use of information technology to improve capabilities and reduce costs, but little work has been done amongst individual standards development organizations and affiliate organizations to integrate their standards into a seamless interoperable unit,” SCO chairman and SVP of the NCPDP John Klimek said in a statement. “Through the SCO and the foundational work accomplished in its summits over the past year, various industry standards development organizations and affiliate organizations are actively working together on methods to remove barriers and improve capabilities and efficiencies, which will result in more cost-effective healthcare and ultimately better healthcare outcomes.”

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