PHARMACY

Inverness to acquire Matria for $1.18 billion

BY Adam Kraemer

WALTHAM, Mass. Inverness Medical Innovations and Matria Healthcare Monday announced that Inverness will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of Matria for $39.00 per share. The total transaction consideration will be approximately $1.18 billion, consisting of approximately $900 million to acquire the Matria shares of common stock and assumption of approximately $280 million of Matria’s indebtedness outstanding.

Through its Health Enhancement and Women’s and Children’s Health divisions, Matria, headquartered in Marietta, Ga.,  provides services to more than 1,000 employers and managed care organizations. Inverness intends to consolidate Matria with its recently acquired Alere and Paradigm businesses to form a combined organization that focuses on the large and rapidly growing health management market opportunity. This acquisition “furthers Inverness’ approach of bringing its proprietary diagnostic products into the home,” the companies said in a press release.

“We view the acquisition of Matria as an important part of our overall health management growth strategy. In addition to Matria’s substantial position in the disease management, productivity enhancement and informatics markets, Matria brings specialized expertise in women’s health which will complement our rapid diagnostics in that area,” Ron Zwanziger, chief executive officer of Inverness, said. “Additionally, Matria’s oncology services are the market leader in value-added services for oncology and fit with our Paradigm acquisition and with Paradigm’s complex case management capability in oncology and neonatal intensive care. Coupled with Alere’s market leadership position in cardiac disease, the addition of Matria provides Inverness with health and disease management market leading positions in women’s health, oncology and cardiology, three critical areas of strategic focus for Inverness.”

“Teaming up with Inverness represents a significant opportunity for Matria and our patients, clients and partners,” Pete Petit, chairman and chief executive officer of Matria, stated. “We have some very unique opportunities to dramatically improve the interventions with patients through the expanded products and services Matria can offer as a result of this combination. We believe that Matria’s leadership in disease management and wellness supported by technology and informatics assets will facilitate many of the Inverness diagnostics initiatives. This combination should significantly improve the health management of our patients.”

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ACC speaks out in favor of waiting for results of further Vytorin trials

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON With all the fallout from the ENHANCE trial regarding Merck and Schering-Plough’s cholesterol drug Vytorin, there is one positive show of support for the drug and it comes from the American College of Cardiology, according to published reports.

The ACC issued a statement saying that “major clinical decisions [should] not be made on the basis of the ENHANCE study alone [as it deserves] serious thought and follow-up.” The overall incidence rates of cardiac events were nearly identical between both treatment groups and both were generally well tolerated, the statement said, so “there should be no reason for patients to panic.” It added that the ENHANCE trial “is an imaging study and not a clinical-outcome study,” and that conclusions should not be made until three large clinical-outcome trials are presented within the next two to three years.

But, there are still many who feel the drug is unsafe and has been since it was put on the market. Sidney Wolfe, director of Health Research Group at Public Citizen, said that “we first warned against using Vytorin in December 2004” and suggested people should wait at least seven years before taking the treatment as it was not a “breakthrough” drug.

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GSK, TB Alliance renew partnership for tuberculosis treatment

BY Drew Buono

LONDON and NEW YORK GlaxoSmithKline and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development have renewed their joint research program that is designed to improve the treatment of tuberculosis. The collaboration began in 2004 and currently includes some projects that may produce new medicines to attack Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis.

The deal has been extended for an additional three years to research tuberculosis and malaria. So far under the deal, the collaboration has seen two drug discovery projects, out of five, in non-clinical studies to have potential benefits in fighting persistent forms of mycobacterium tuberculosis and thereby offer better chances of shortening treatment duration, which currently takes about six months to complete.

“We are encouraged by the success of our pioneering work with GSK, which has nearly doubled the number of TB drug discovery projects in our pipeline,” said Mel Spigelman, TB Alliance director of research and development. “This collaboration is advancing the TB Alliance’s mission to develop revolutionary, faster and better TB treatment regimens by exploring new ways to attack the disease.”

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