PHARMACY

Deloitte report: Pharmaceutical companies’ ‘patent cliff’ could bolster mergers, acquisitions

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A wave of acquisitions indicates a trend of consolidation in the drug industry, as companies seek ways to build up their research and development pipelines while reducing overhead costs, according to a report released Tuesday by professional services firm Deloitte.

One of the factors driving mergers is that drugs representing more than $74 billion in sales will lose patent protection by 2012, which many analysts have come to call the “patent cliff.”

“With so many rapidly changing dynamics – the patent cliff, healthcare reform and still-dry capital markets – the trends in life sciences industry consolidation are almost certain to continue with a growing emphasis on those deals with companies involved with late-stage developed compounds,” Deloitte & Touche partner Phil Pfrang said in a statement. “Healthy companies have good cause to pursue deals that promise faster revenue streams and profits.”

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PHARMACY

HHS parcels out $17 million for HAIs

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services has doled out $17 million to projects set up to fight infections acquired in hospitals, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced.

Healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, affect nearly 2 million patients every year, contributing to 99,000 deaths and costing the healthcare system up to $33 billion. The most common culprit in HAIs is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA.

“When patients go to the hospital, they expect to get better, not worse,” Sebelius said in a statement. “Eliminating infections is critical to making care safer for patients and to improving the overall quality and safety of the healthcare system.”

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Victoza yields substantial weight loss in diabetic patients, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

COPENHAGEN A drug developed for Type 2 diabetes provides greater weight loss than a popular weight-loss drug already on the market, according to a study published online in The Lancet.

Led by nutrition professor Arne Astrup, researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark analyzed 564 patients at 19 sites in Europe who received Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide) in a 1.2-mg, 1.8-mg, 2.4-mg or 3-mg dose; GlaxoSmithKline’s weight-loss drug Alli (orlistat) in a 120-mg dose; or placebo three times a day.

Patients taking Victoza lost between 4.8-kg and 7.2-kg, compared with 4.1-kg among those taking Alli and 2.8-kg among those taking placebo.

“Treatment with liraglutide, in addition to an energy-deficit diet and exercise program, led to a sustained, clinically relevant, dose-dependent weight loss that was significantly greater than that with placebo and orlistat,” the authors wrote. 

Victoza has been approved in Europe, though the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve it for the United States.

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