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FDA approves Lilly, BMS drug for KRAS wild-type colorectal cancer

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb for treating a form of colorectal cancer, the two companies said.

Lilly and Bristol announced the approval of Erbitux (cetuximab) for treating colorectal cancer that is KRAS mutation-negative, expresses the epidermal growth factor receptor and has spread to other parts of the body, also known as metastasis. The drug is approved for use alongside a chemotherapy combination containing irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin, also known as FOLFIRI.

"Cancer is a heterogeneous disease, and we have learned that not all patients with mCRC should be viewed as the same," Bristol-Myers Squibb SVP global development and medical affairs Brian Daniels said. "Today’s approval demonstrates our ability to bring diverse cancer therapies to market that address the needs of patients with KRAS mutation-negative mCRC."

The drug already is approved for treating head and neck cancer.


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PepsiCo, Theo Muller Group form joint venture, enter U.S. dairy market

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo has established a joint venture with a privately held, Germany-based dairy business, through which the companies will enter the growing U.S. dairy market in mid-July with innovative premium yogurt products.

PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group said their joint venture, Muller Quaker Dairy, will launch the following yogurts:

  • Muller Corner and Muller Greek Corner offer a new way to enjoy yogurt with add-ins you can flip, stir or dip. Corner varieties include blueberry, strawberry, Crispy Crunch, Choco Balls, chocolate flakes and crunchy granola. The Greek-style varieties include honeyed apricot, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry, and caramelized almond;

  • Muller FrutUp varieties include Blueberry Bliss, Very Cherry, Luscious Lemon, Peach Passion Fruit, Radiant Raspberry and Splendid Strawberry, starting with fruit fresh from farmers and prepared onsite with the yogurt. The unique part is the fruit on top — perfect for scooping, swirling or mixing.

The lines will be sold through supermarket and club retailers in 17 markets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic U.S. starting this summer.

As part of partnership, the companies are building a state-of-the-art yogurt manufacturing plant in Batavia, N.Y. Once completed in 2013, it will be one of the largest yogurt plants in the United States, and is expected to create more than 180 new jobs in upstate New York, PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group said.

"As we’ve seen through the success of our dairy business in other parts of the world, this is a category with strong growth prospects," said Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo chief scientific officer, global research and development. "Muller makes some of Europe’s most delicious and unique dairy products, and there is no better partner PepsiCo could have in order to meet historic U.S. consumer demand for premium yogurt. With the name recognition and trust Quaker provides, together, we will be able to offer U.S. consumers an amazing range of products that taste delicious and are unlike anything on the market currently."

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Campbell’s to acquire Bolthouse Farms

BY Allison Cerra

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell’s is expanding its business in the healthy beverage and packaged fresh foods businesses with the acquisition of Bolthouse Farms.

Campbell’s said it would acquire Bolthouse Farms from a fund managed by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners for $1.55 billion in cash. The company said that it plans to operate Bolthouse Farms as a separate business unit, while members of Bolthouse’s senior management team, including president and CEO Jeff Dunn, will remain with the company.

"Bolthouse is a great strategic fit with Campbell," Campbell’s president and CEO Denise Morrison said. "Its business platforms, capabilities and culture are well aligned with the core growth strategies we announced last year. Its strong position in the high-growth packaged fresh category complements our chilled soup business in North America, and offers exciting opportunities for expansion into adjacent packaged fresh segments that respond directly to powerful consumer trends."

The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in late summer 2012.

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