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CDC committee recommends Pfizer pneumonia vaccine for seniors

BY David Salazar

New York — Pfizer’s Prevnar 13 vaccine for pneumonia has been recommended for use by patients 65 years old and up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization practices advisory committee. Prevnar 13 is a PCV13 immunization, meaning it protects against 13 variations of the pneumococcal disease.

“Immunization with Prevnar 13 can play an important role in helping to reduce the incidence and burden of vaccine-type pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease among adults 65 years of age or older,” Luis Jodar, Global Medicines Development Group and Scientific Affairs’ VP vaccines said. “This additional ACIP meeting recognizes the importance of implementing an adult recommendation for Prevnar 13 in advance of the U.S. influenza season, the time of year when this population is most likely to be considering vaccination.”

The committee recommends that the vaccine be given to people ages 65 years and older who have never been vaccinated against pneumonia, and those who have previously received the other common pneumonia vaccine, PPSV23 (known as Pneumovax 23, which Merck distributes). Additionally, it advises that those who receive a Prevnar vaccine should also be given a PPSV23 vaccine.

The recommendations have the potential to alleviate the $5 billion that a 2011 study found pneumonia to cost, either directly or indirectly.

“As healthcare professionals in the United States begin to implement this new ACIP recommendation, we believe that Prevnar 13 can now help prevent vaccine-type pneumococcal pneumonia in older adults and has the potential to provide an important public health benefit.” Pfizer vaccines president Susan Silbermann said. "Pfizer remains committed to working with the healthcare and public health communities to raise awareness of the importance of adult immunization among consumers.”

The recommendations are now awaiting approval by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the head of the CDC.

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Mallinckrodt completes merger with Questcor

BY Ryan Chavis

DUBLIN — Mallinckrodt announced that it has completed the acquisiton of Questcor Pharmaceuticals in a transaction valued at $5.8 billion. Under the terms of the merger, Questcor shareholders will receive $30 in cash and 0.89 of a Mallinckrodt ordinary share for each Questcor share, the company stated.

"We are pleased to complete this transformative transaction and believe it will provide a strong, durable, well-diversified and sustainable platform, capable of generating significant future revenue and earnings growth for Mallinckrodt shareholders," said Mark Trudeau, president and CEO of Mallinckrodt. "HP Acthar Gel has demonstrated success in treating patients suffering from a variety of devastating and difficult-to-treat autoimmune and inflammatory illnesses. We are confident that Acthar will be a strong complement to Mallinckrodt's broadening portfolio of leading specialty pharmaceutical brands, and we look forward to leveraging our extensive manufacturing and scientific expertise, as well as our experience with advocacy and payer communities, to capitalize on the many opportunities it presents."

Commercial operations supporting HP Acthar gel will function as a separate business within the company's specialty pharmaceuticals segment. It will be referred to as the autoimmune and rare diseases business within Mallinckrodt.

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Walmart awards grants to ignite innovation in U.S. manufacturing

BY Mike Troy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart held its second U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Denver on Thursday, using the occasion to dole out the first of $10 million in grants designed to stimulate innovation and the creation of U.S. jobs.
 
The initial grants presented this week were given to organizations focused on reducing the cost of textiles manufacturing, including home textiles and apparel, in the U.S. by addressing obstacles throughout production and improving common manufacturing processes with broad application to many types of consumer products.
 
“Innovation is part of the heart and soul of Walmart,” said Michelle Gloeckler, Walmart’s EVP of consumables and U.S. manufacturing. “By investing in American ingenuity originating everywhere from the research lab to the assembly line, we can transform our approach to manufacturing to be more cost-effective and efficient. We can bring more jobs and more production back into American communities.”
 
Grant recipients included:

  • The Georgia Tech Research Corporation for innovation of thread-count-based fabric motion control, a critical enabling technology for the automated production of sewn goods.
  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) to advance and accelerate the industrial implementation of metal 3-D printing for the manufacturing of plastic injection tooling as an alternative to current metal-shaping practices.
  • North Carolina State University College of Textiles to address challenges to manufacturing of furniture cushions in the U.S. by implementing new technologies in both fabric printing and cut-and-sew automation.
  • Oregon State University to develop two novel alternative mold fabricating approaches, and evaluate for functionality, precision and cost reduction potential.
  • Texas Tech University to support collaborative research on cotton breeding and biotechnology, cotton production, and various aspects of textile manufacturing, dyeing efficiency and specialty finishes.
  • The University of Texas at Arlington to develop a novel manufacturing system that will autonomously prepare small motor sub-systems and assemble the motor components.
  • The University of Georgia Research Foundation to develop an innovative approach to fabric dyeing that will greatly reduce, and perhaps eliminate, the need for water in dyeing cotton and cotton/polyester fabrics and yarns.

 
The grants awards are part of a larger domestic sourcing commitment the company made in January 2013 when plans were unveiled to buy an additional $250 billion in products supporting American manufacturing and American jobs by 2023.

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