PHARMACY

Genentech CEO predicts strong year ahead after slow 2007

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO Genentech is announcing that it predicts a strong 2008 in terms of new products after dipping off last year following two years of tremendous success for the company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“We’ve been in a little bit of a quiet spot” after a run of new products from 2004 to 2006, chief executive officer Arthur Levinson said in a speech to the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, which ended yesterday in San Francisco. But in 2008, he said, “That quiet spot will end.”

One drug that Genentech is hoping will be big in 2008 is Avastin, which the company is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a first-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer that has migrated from its original site. The agency will rule on it next month.

The company is also working on new compounds to curb tumor malignancy and identify people who need such treatments.

One such approach seeks to trigger apoptosis, or programmed cell death, that could foil tumors ranging from lung cancer to lymphoma. Genentech is developing new weapons called Apo2L/Trail and ApoMab that aim to trigger self-destruction of cancer cells.

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PHARMACY

Taro settles patent suit, launches generic Trileptal

BY DSN STAFF

HAWTHORNE Taro announced Wednesday that it has settled a patent lawsuit with Novartis and will launch oxcarbazepine tablets, the generic version of Novartis’ Trileptal. Oxcarbazepine tablets are indicated to treat seizures.

The litigation with Novartis centered on Taro’s Paragraph IV certification challenging Novartis’ patent protection on Trileptal. On Nov. 15, 2007, Taro received Food and Drug Administration approval for its abbreviated new drug application for oxcarbazepine tablets in 150 mg, 300 mg and 600 mg strengths, but the company waited to launch the drug until the lawsuit was settled.

According to Taro, Trileptal currently has annual U.S. sales of approximately $700 million.

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Sciele to launch six medications in 2008

BY DSN STAFF

ATLANTA In addition to Sciele’s announcement last week, reported in Drug Store News, that it will launch its new Sular formulation during the first quarter of 2008, the company also announced plans to launch five other drugs this year:

  • two new dosages of fenofibrate for the treatment of mixed dyslipidemia
  • Prandin for Type 2 diabetes
  • PrandiMet for Type 2 diabetes (pending FDA approval)
  • a head lice asphyxiation product (pending FDA approval)
  • a women’s health product

Sciele reaffirmed its full-year guidance at the JPMorgan 26th Annual Health Care Conference yesterday. As previously announced, full-year 2007 revenue is expected to range between $375 million and $385 million. The company expects full-year 2008 revenues to range from $440 million to $455 million.

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