PHARMACY

Biotech, service provider sign agreement to deliver breast cancer, Alzheimer’s tests

BY Alaric DeArment

OSLA, Norway A Norwegian biotech has signed a service provider agreement with a Belgian company that provides gene expression-based diagnostic testing and services.

DiaGenic announced Tuesday that it had signed the agreement with DNAVision, saying it would be able to offer healthcare providers and patients in Europe with its blood-based gene-expression diagnostic test for early detection of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

“This agreement with DNAVision will provide us with the ideal launch platform across Europe for our blood-based tests for early detection of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease,” DiaGenic chief executive officer Erik Christensen said. “We are currently introducing the breast cancer test in India.”

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McKesson reports earnings increase for Q2 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

SAN FRANCISCO McKesson Co. reported Wednesday that its earnings for second quarter 2008 which ended Sept. 30 totaled $26.6 billion, up 9 percent from $24.5 billion at the same time last year.

“We had a solid quarter, with a particularly strong performance from Distribution Solutions despite industry concerns about lower prescription trends,” John H. Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer said in a statement. “In Technology Solutions, our second quarter operating profit was up 8 percent year-over-year, although we did begin to see some customers delay their purchasing decisions.”

Second-quarter diluted earnings were $1.17 per share, up 41 percent from 83 cents per diluted share last year. That total included 27 cents per share from a $76 million tax reserve release and five cents per share after sale of the 42 percent holdings of Verispan, the company reported. McKesson benefited from the sale of its specialty pharmacy business Distribution Solutions, a business within McKesson Specialty Care Solutions.

McKesson also said that its second-quarter earnings totals included $25 million in pre-tax share-based compensation expense, versus its pre-tax expense of $28 million one year ago.

The company said that projections for 2009 earnings were reported at $4.00 to $4.15 per diluted share.

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CVS completes tender for Longs Drugs acquisition

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has successfully completed the subsequent offering period of its tender offer for all of the outstanding common stock of Longs Drug Stores, and expects to effect the merger on or about Oct. 30.

The subsequent offering period for the tender offer expired at 6 p.m., New York City time, on Oct. 28. A total of approximately 28,317,338 shares of Longs were tendered in the initial and subsequent offering periods of the offer, representing approximately 78.07 percent of the outstanding shares.

CVS expects to effect, without a vote or meeting of Longs’ stockholders, a short-form merger on or about Oct. 30 to complete the Longs acquisition.

In the merger, each of the remaining outstanding shares (other than any shares owned by CVS or its subsidiaries) will be converted into the right to receive the same $71.50 in cash per share, without interest, that was paid in the tender offer.

Following the merger, Longs’ common stock will cease to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

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