PHARMACY

Governments vie for GSK flu vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON Several governments have placed orders with GlaxoSmithKline for a candidate vaccine for the A (H1N1) influenza virus, popularly known as swine flu, the British drug maker announced.

GSK said it will manufacture the new vaccine once the World Health Organization makes the virus seed available, and it expects the first doses to be available six months later.

As of Monday, the influenza strain had infected 5,123 people and caused five deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many public health experts fear that the virus could mutate and return in more virulent form when the Northern Hemisphere enters its flu season later in the year.

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E.F. Bavis and Associates create non-pneumatic, tape-drive prescription carrier

BY Alaric DeArment

CINCINNATI Retail pharmacies that deliver prescriptions to drive-through customers via pneumatic tube have a more environmentally friendly option.

E.F. Bavis and Associates, a company that manufactures drive-through equipment for retail pharmacies, banks and quick-service businesses, has launched the Captive Carrier TransTrax, a non-pneumatic, tape-drive prescription carrier. The company said that other systems typically use 40 amps to operate, while E.F. Bavis’ uses two amps and is made with recyclable materials.

A company spokesman said that while it is conceptually similar to a pneumatic tube system, the use of a tape drive allows Captive Carrier to adjust to different vehicle heights and allows for manual retrieval in the event of a power failure.

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Genentech presents positive study results at ASCO meeting

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. Positive results of phase 2 and phase 3 studies of a cancer-fighting monoclonal antibody are among the subjects that biotech company Genentech plans to present at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 45th annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Key study results will include positive phase 3 results for Herceptin (trastuzumab) in advanced HER2-positive stomach cancer and phase 2 data in metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer with trastuzumab-DM1, which uses Herceptin’s antibody to deliver a specialized cancer cell-killing agent to tumor cells. The company will also present data from two phase 3 studies of Avastin (bevacizumab), one that studied the drug as a treatment for early-stage colon cancer and another that investigated a combination of the drug with Tarceva (erlotinib) as a first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

 

“By focusing on the biology of cancer, we are able to create potential new therapies that uniquely target the disease, impede multiple growth triggers and can be used at different times during the course of treatment,” Genentech chief medical officer and EVP global development Hal Barron stated. “Biomarker research is involved in each of our cancer development programs in order to help us identify which patients may respond best to our medicines.”

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