PHARMACY

Florida to offer senior prescription discount card

BY Drew Buono

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced yesterday a new prescription discount card for seniors and others who can’t afford their medications. Nearly 4 million people are expected to be eligible for the cards, Crist said, and the card will provide discounts on most prescription drugs.

People 60 and older who don’t have prescription drug coverage or who are on Medicare but fall through the program’s prescription drug gap will be eligible for the card regardless of their income.

Besides those over 60, younger people will also be able to get one of the cards if their income is low enough. For individuals, the threshold is $30,636 a year. Families of four whose income is below $61,956 will be eligible.

“For many who experience chronic health conditions, prescription drugs can be the key to a good quality of life,” Crist said. “Unfortunately, many working families and seniors struggle to afford the medications that they need every day.”

Savings will vary depending on the drug, but on the most commonly prescribed medicines, the discount will range from 5 percent to more than 40 percent, Crist said. More than 3,000 retail pharmacies have agreed to accept the discount card including CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

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PHARMACY

BioSante makes milestone payment of $875,000 to Antrares for Elestrin

BY Drew Buono

EWING, N.J. Antares Pharma has received an additional payment of $875,000 from BioSante Pharmaceuticals in relation to a marketing agreement with Bradley Pharmaceuticals for the drug Elestrin.

Elestrin is a low dose transdermal estradiol therapy that is used for the treatment of hot flashes in menopausal women. Antares allowed BioSante to use its advanced transdermal delivery gel system for the drug. Additional sales based milestone payments could bring the deals total value to more than $13 million, not including royalties based on third party sales.

“We look forward to continued marketing progress with Elestrin in 2008. The December 2006 FDA approval of this product has validated our ATD gel system and that has been a significant milestone for Antares and our potential pipeline products including Anturol—our proprietary ATD gel based overactive bladder product—currently in pivotal trials,” said Jack Stover, president and chief executive officer of Antares Pharma.

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GSK, Santaris ink deal worth a potential $700 million

BY Drew Buono

LONDON GlaxoSmithKline has signed a deal with the biotech company Santaris Pharma to develop new antiviral medicine, in a deal that could be worth more than $700 million, according to Reuters. The deal involves drug candidates discovered and developed under the agreement in up to four different viral disease programs.

As part of the deal, Santaris will receive an upfront payment of $3 million for the first antiviral program and an equity investment of $5 million. The deal could be worth more than $700 million based on upfront payments and development and regulatory milestone payments, depending on the success on early-stage research in RNA antagonist compounds.

Santaris will also get high single- to double-digit percentage royalties on worldwide sales of marketed products. GSK will have the option to develop drug candidates in up to four different viral disease programs. It also has an option to include as an additional program Santaris’ pre-clinical hepatitis C compound SPC3649.

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