PHARMACY

FDA approves Janssen’s Invokamet XR

BY David Salazar
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ Invokamet XR, a once-daily, extended-release combination therapy of Invokana (canagliflozin) and metformin, the company announced Wednesday. The drug is indicated as a first-line treatment to improve blood glucose control in adults with Type 2 diabetes alongside diet and exercise. 
 
“The approval of Invokamet XR is further evidence of our ongoing commitment to provide new treatment options for people with type 2 diabetes,” Janssen VP medical affairs Dr. Paul Burton said. “Our Invokana portfolio now offers physicians even more choices for helping patients improve control of A1C levels and other important health measures, with numerous dosing options for monotherapy and for combination therapy with both metformin and metformin XR.”
 
Invokamet XR is available in 50-, 150-, 500- and 1000-mg dosage strengths. It contains a boxed warning for lactic acidosis, which is a rare but serious complication that can be caused by metformin accumulation. 
 
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Allergan acquires Akarna Therapeutics

BY David Salazar
DUBLIN — On the same day that it announced the acquisition of Tobira Therapeutics, Allergan acquired Akarna Therapeutics, a biotech company that, like Tobira, focuses on developing treatments for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe type of fatty liver disease.
 
Allergan will be acquiring Akarna Therapeutics and its portfolio of developing treatments for an upfront payment of $50 million plus potential clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments around its lead compound AKN-083. AKN-083, the company said is highly complementary to the two compounds being developed by Tobira Therapeutics. 
 
“The acquisition of Akarna adds to our strategic approach to investing in innovation to advance the treatment of NASH for millions of patients who currently do not have therapeutic options to treat the disease,” Allergan president and CEO Brent Saunders said. “We look forward to advancing this unique compound into later stages of development, and to advancing our overall portfolio of NASH programs, as we focus on bringing forward effective treatments for this critical disease area.”  
 
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iMedicare, Arete Pharmacy Network announce partnership

BY David Salazar
NEW YORK — Medicare plan comparison platform iMedicare has a new partnership with the nation’s fourth-largest pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO). The company announced Tuesday that it will be teaming with Arete Pharmacy Network to help its member pharmacies assist their patients in choosing the best Medicare plan for them. 
 
“In today’s landscape ridden with DIR fees and reimbursements below cost, iMedicare is committed to transparency for every pharmacy and their patients,” iMedicare CEO Flaviu Simihaian said. “The partnership with Arete Pharmacy Network will enable over 2,300 pharmacies to benefit from tools that help lower their DIR fees, increase their Star Ratings and help patients save thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.”
 
Arete Pharmacy Network, which is the combined entity of United Drugs and Third Party Network, said it works to provide resources for its individual pharmacies that save time and allow for better patient care. 
 
“iMedicare provides a great tool for our pharmacies to help beneficiaries understand the complexity of the Medicare landscape and find the best option to fit their medication needs,” Arete Pharmacy Network CEO Rob McMahan said. “We believe that iMedicare creates additional clarity for both beneficiaries and pharmacy staff, as they prepare for new plan options for next year.” 
 
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