PHARMACY

Cephalon to aquire private biotech co. Ception Therapeutics

BY Alaric DeArment

FRAZER, Pa. Cephalon will acquire a private biotech company developing a monoclonal antibody for treating an allergic disease in children, the drug maker announced Tuesday.

The company said it would acquire all outstanding capital stock of Ception Therapeutics for $250 million. Ception shareholders could receive additional payments related to clinical and regulatory milestones.

“This deal builds on our heritage as a biotech company, and creates the opportunity for Cephalon to introduce its first biologic into the market,” Cephalon chairman and CEO Frank Baldino said in a statement. “The addition of biologics, which have a longer commercial life, will add higher-value products to our portfolio.”

Ception is developing reslizumab, a monoclonal antibody against interleukin-5. IL-5 plays a crucial role in the maturation, growth and chemotaxis of eosinophilic esophagitis, a disease that has become increasingly recognized in children and adults over the last decade. The disease causes an accumulation of inflammatory eosinophil cells in the esophagus, causing symptoms that often resemble severe gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Reslizumab currently is in phase 2b and phase 3 clinical trials.

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MTI launches Rite Aid Radio

BY Michael Johnsen

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. Music Technologies International on Tuesday announced that it’s “Rite Aid Radio,” a music and messaging program designed exclusively for Rite Aid, is now available chainwide.

“We relished the opportunity to start from scratch with Rite Aid in creating a music environment that is much more ‘tune’ with their customers,” said Bradley Golden, president of MTI. “We feel that we have helped to create an even more inviting audio ambiance in the stores.”

MTI built the music library song by song to appeal to Rite Aid’s customers, the company stated, and also allows Rite Aid to broadcast messages to speak directly to its customers.

This partnership is actually the resumption of a relationship from the 1990’s when MTI provided a similar program to Rite Aid.

“Our number one priority is keeping our customers happy,” said Jerry Cardinale, Rite Aid senior vice president of indirect procurement. “We feel that MTI’s music and messaging program helps us achieve this goal. MTI shares our philosophy of absolute dedication to customer service.”

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Duane Reade announces $3.5 million settlement for Q4 2008

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Duane Reade, without admitting liability, has announced a $3.5 million litigation settlement that will result in a $3.5 million one-time, pre-tax charge for the fourth quarter.

The two class action cases concern the retailer’s alleged past payment practices for certain overtime and employee non-exempt classifications.

The settlement is subject to the approval of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The company stated that while it believes it can “strongly defend against the matters involved in this litigation” it has decided to settle to avoid additional defense costs and uncertainty surrounding the litigation.

The retailer, which operates 251 stores, is expected to announce its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2008 results in March.

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