PHARMACY

FDA approves new dosage strength for Purdue Pharma’s Butrans

BY Alaric DeArment

STAMFORD, Conn. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new dosage strength for a chronic pain patch made by Purdue Pharma, the drug maker said Tuesday.

Purdue announced the approval of the 15-microgram-per-hour strength of Butrans (buprenorphine). The drug is used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain when a continuous, around-the-clock opioid analgesic is needed for an extended period of time. The new strength is in addition to the 5-microgram, 10-microgram and 20-microgram strengths already on the market, and it will be launched next month.

"The new strength provides another option when adjusting the dose to obtain an appropriate balance between adequate pain relief and opioid-related adverse reactions," Purdue SVP research and development Gary Stiles said.


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AbbVie, Ablynx sign deal for investigative autoimmune drug

BY Alaric DeArment

GHENT, Belgium — Belgian drug maker Ablynx is licensing an experimental treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus to U.S. drug maker AbbVie in a deal worth up to $840 million, the companies said.

The two drug makers announced that AbbVie would license the drug ALX-0061 for an upfront payment of $175 million plus milestone payments worth up to $665 million, as well as royalties. The drug belongs to a class known as anti-interleukin-6R nanobodies, which work by targeting an immune-system protein pathway that plays a key role in the inflammation associated with RA.

Under the deal, Ablynx will complete the mid-stage clinical trials of the drug currently underway in patients with RA and systemic lupus erythematosus. After fulfilling pre-defined success criteria, AbbVie will in-license the drug and be responsible for late-stage development and commercialization, while Abblynx will have an option for co-promotion in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.


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Walgreens Healthcare Clinic, Inovalon deal represents further advancement for convenient care industry

BY Antoinette Alexander

Walgreens Healthcare Clinic (formerly known as Take Care Clinic) has formed a multi-year agreement with healthcare technology company Inovalon to provide Inovalon’s data-driven encounter support platform, Electronic Patient Assessment Solution Suite (ePASS), within Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens.

The news clearly represents yet another step in Walgreens’ commitment to improving patients’ access to healthcare solutions. In fact, the news comes about a week after the retailer announced that it is bringing access to Theranos’ new lab testing service through Walgreens pharmacies nationwide.

It is important to also note that the partnership with Inovalon represents another advancement for the convenient care industry. As retail-based health clinics continue to play an increasingly vital role in the U.S. healthcare system, having nurse practitioners working within such clinics utilizing the power of analytics to provide a higher level of individualized care to patients is significant.

And the timing is likely not coincidental. Having such analytics available in a point-of-care environment is bound to prove beneficial as healthcare reform brings some 30 million Americans into the insurance fold come 2014.

The reality is that the industry shouldn’t be surprised to see more of such partnerships as the number of retail-based health clinics is projected to double in the next three years, according to a report by Accenture ACN, and pharmacy retailers work to strengthen their foothold along the front lines of health care.

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