PHARMACY

Diplomat Pharmacy raises some $200 million in follow-on stock offering

BY Michael Johnsen

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy raised almost $200 million Tuesday following the closing of its follow-on public offering of 9.8 million shares of common stock at a price to the public of $29 per share. Diplomat sold 6.8 million shares of common stock and certain shareholders of Diplomat sold 3 million shares of common stock. 
 
Diplomat will not receive any proceeds from shares of common stock sold by the selling shareholders.
 
Credit Suisse Securities and Morgan Stanley acted as lead book-running managers. Additional book-running managers were J.P. Morgan Securities and Wells Fargo Securities. William Blair & Company, Leerink Partners and Raymond James & Associates acted as co-managers.
 
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RA treatments to reach $9.3 billion in U.S. by 2020

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The U.S. treatment market for rheumatoid arthritis is set to increase in value from $6.4 billion in 2013 to $9.3 billion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 5.5%, according to business intelligence provider GBI Research in a release issued Wednesday.
 
This growth will be driven partly by the aging baby boomer. Consequently, the country will remain the largest RA therapeutics player of the eight major pharmaceutical markets (the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan) over the forecast period.
 
The entry of premium-priced, disease-modifying therapies into the RA treatment arena in the United States, along with new biosimilar products, will also be a contributing factor to its expansion, the report added. 
 
“While the patent expiration of blockbuster drugs as early as this year is expected to cause strong biosimilar uptake in the EU, thereby reducing the annual cost of therapy in this region, these products may not measurably affect the pricing of currently marketed RA treatments in the U.S.," noted Yasser Mushtaq, senior analyst for GBI Research. “Despite the fact that biosimilars are likely to be priced at a discount to their reference drug, the lack of regulatory guidelines for their approvals in the U.S. may deter drug manufactures from seeking marketing approval for these products.”
 
Mushtaq added that drug developers may be further discouraged by state legislation preventing clinicians from taking up biosimilar versions of their reference drugs. This will result in a stable annual cost of therapy for RA treatments in the U.S. over the forecast period.
 
“The U.S. had the highest [annual cost of therapy] of the eight major markets in 2013, with $5,983, reflecting the country’s higher drug costs in comparison with Canada and the EU. This figure is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.2% to reach $7,435 by 2020,” Mushtaq said. 
 
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AstraZeneca launches Movantik

BY Ryan Chavis

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca on Tuesday announced that Movantik (naloxegol) has launched in the United States. The drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 16 to treat opioid-induced constipation in adults who have chronic, non-cancer pain. 
 
"Movantik provides an oral treatment option that's specifically designed for patients struggling with opioid-induced constipation. When administered at recommended dose levels, Movantik decreases the constipating effect of opioids by blocking opioids from binding to mu-receptors in the bowel," said Cathy Datto, U.S. medical lead at AstraZeneca. "And because of its design, at recommended doses, the central nervous system penetration of Movantik is expected to be negligible, limiting the potential for interference with opioid pain relief."
 
According to the company, OIC is a common side effect of opioids and will typically persist for the duration of treatment. "We know many patients taking opioids for chronic non-cancer pain often experience OIC, and we believe Movantik is an important treatment option for those unable to effectively manage their symptoms,” added Dave Fredrickson, VP specialty care for AstraZeneca.
 
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