PHARMACY

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Japanese drugmaker expand deal

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said Monday it is extending a partnership on one drug and will collaborate on two others.

The drugmaker said that it is prolonging a deal until 2015 with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. The companies will share revenue and marketing costs for psychiatric drug Abilify, which Otsuka discovered. With the new agreement, the Abilify deal will run until it loses patent protection around April 2015.

Otsuka and Bristol-Myers have shared the marketing of Abilify since 1999. The drug is approved for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. The two companies expect a decision late this year on whether they can also market Abilify in the U.S. for irritability in 6- to 17-year-olds with autism.

Meanwhile, the companies agreed to share revenue and marketing and further development costs for two Bristol cancer drugs, Sprycel and Ixempra.

Sprycel, which had about $400 million in 2008 sales, is approved for treating two types of leukemia and is in final-stage testing for prostate cancer.

Ixempra, launched at the end of 2007, had about $100 million in sales last year. It is approved for treating advanced breast cancer after patients have failed on other types of cancer drugs, and is in early human testing for prostate cancer.

“This is one of the more significant levers we can pull to improve our business outlook in 2013,” said Bristol-Myers spokeswoman Tracy Furey.

Shares of Bristol-Myers rose 47 cents Monday, or 2.3% to $20.64.

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PHARMACY

Sun Pharmaceutical subsidiary extends tender offer to Taro

BY Allison Cerra

MUMBAI, India Sun Pharmaceutical announced Friday its subsidiary, Alkaloida, has extended the expiration date of the tender offer for the purchase of all outstanding shares of Taro.

The offer will now expire at on Friday, April 17, unless further extended or earlier terminated.

The tender offer was extended to comply with a continuing order issued by the Supreme Court of Israel, temporarily prohibiting the closing of the offer until the Supreme Court issues a decision on the appeal of the litigation commenced against Alkaloida and its affiliates by Taro and certain of its directors, regarding the applicability of the special tender offer rules under the Israeli Companies Law to the offer.

The Tel-Aviv District Court had previously ruled in favor of Sun that a special tender offer was not required. If the temporary order remains in effect on April 17, 2009, Sun expects to extend the Offer while the temporary order remains outstanding.

The offer was commenced on June 30, 2008 in order to comply with the terms of the Option Agreement between Alkaloida and the controlling shareholders of Taro. Alkaloida exercised its options to acquire shares of Taro from the controlling shareholders on June 25, 2008. The Option Agreement required Alkaloida, promptly after exercising the options, to commence a tender offer at $7.75 per share of Taro held by other shareholders.

The offer had previously been scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m. EST, Friday, April 3. As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on April 2, 2009, 25,617 shares had been tendered and not withdrawn from the offer.

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FDA reviews heart risks of depressive disorder medication

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON Federal health officials said a schizophrenia drug from AstraZeneca also works against depression, though it carries risks of sudden heart death, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Seroquel XR is used by millions of patients to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Now London-based AstraZeneca wants the Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug for depression and anxiety.

Seroquel has severe side effects, including sudden death.

The company launched two new strengths of Seroquel XR (quetiapine fumarate) extended-release tablets last month. The new strengths, 50-mg and 150-mg, are in addition to the existing 200-mg, 300-mg and 400-mg strengths.

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