PHARMACY

Egalet, Shionogi to develop abuse-deterrent opioids

BY Alaric DeArment

MALVERN, Pa. — Shionogi and Egalet have entered a deal worth up to $425 million for the development of abuse-deterrent opioid painkillers, Egalet said.

The deal centers on the development and potential commercialization of experimental drugs containing the opioid painkiller hydrocodone.

Shionogi will pay Egalet $10 million upfront and purchase $15 million worth of its stock, as well as $300 million or more in milestone payments based on development and approval of products under the agreement. Egalet also is eligible to receive royalties and sales-based milestones of $100 million or more.

 

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Mylan, Elton John AIDS Foundation donate $1 million to end mother-to-child HIV transmission in Nigeria

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Drug maker Mylan and the Elton John AIDS Foundation will donate $1 million to the Business Leadership Council for a Generation Born HIV Free, the two said.

The BLC’s goal is to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria, which is home to 3.4 million people living with the disease, and about 60,000 children were newly infected with it in 2012 alone, the highest rate in the world, according to UNAIDS. In Nigeria, mother-to-child transmission of HIV has remained at 30% despite its virtual elimination in other countries, such as the United States and Botswana.

"Mylan is proud to commemorate World AIDS Day by announcing this important partnership with EJAF and BLC to reach more HIV-positive pregnant women in Nigeria," Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said, adding that 40% of people receiving treatment for HIV in developing countries rely on a Mylan product. "Ending transmission of HIV from mother to child is an important step in ending AIDS."

 

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Personalized service from store attendants grows in importance for pharmacy retailers

BY Alaric DeArment

Rite Aid announced Monday the promotion of Karen Staniforth to group VP pharmacy initiatives and clinical services from her current position of VP pharmacy for the chain’s mid-Atlantic division. In her new position, Staniforth will oversee the company’s strategy around the Wellness Ambassadors, specially trained staff who walk the aisles of the stores and provide information on health and wellness products and programs, as well as serve as a "bridge" between the front end and the pharmacy.

From the beginning, Wellness Ambassadors have been a crucial part of Rite Aid’s Wellness store remodel program, and early on, John Standley, its chairman and CEO, noted that Wellness stores with Wellness Ambassadors showed stronger sales than those without them. As of the chain’s second-quarter 2014, the results of which it announced in September, there were 1,700 Wellness Ambassadors at 1,019 stores.

It’s the personalized, one-on-one service that the Wellness Ambassadors provide to customers that has made them such an asset for the company and helped them drive sales for the Wellness stores, not to mention the literal ambassadorial role they serve when they go out into communities to promote Rite Aid’s health and wellness programs.

Lately, Rite Aid has implemented a similar program as part of a test of its Beauty Vision concept at a select number of Wellness Stores, with special store attendants called Beauty Vision advisers providing information and advice on beauty and personal care products.

It’s too early to tell how the concept is doing, let alone what effects the the Beauty Vision advisers have had on sales, but early results from at least one store indicate that cosmetics sales there are tracking ahead of those at other stores. And chains like Walgreens, Duane Reade and Target have lately been expanding their respective Look Boutique beauty advisor and beauty concierge programs.

The idea of store attendants is nothing new, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for a number of retailers and retail formats that traditionally didn’t use them, showing that one-on-one service is of growing importance for driving customer traffic and sales.

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