PHARMACY

Jazz Pharmaceuticals announces executive changes

BY Alaric DeArment

PALO ALTO, Calif. A specialty pharmaceutical company focused on drugs for neurological and psychiatric conditions has made changes to its management and board of directors.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that CEO and board member Samuel Saks had resigned from both positions, effective Friday. Saks will serve as a consultant to the company on medical and clinical matters.

The company has appointed Bruce Cozadd to the position of CEO and Robert Myers to the board position. Cozadd was previously executive chairman since the company’s founding, in 2003, and worked at ALZA Corp. from 1991 to 2001. Myers was the company’s EVP and chief business officer from the company’s founding to 2007, when he took the position of president.

“We thank Sam for his enormous contributions to Jazz Pharmaceuticals since its founding in 2003,” Cozadd said. “His dedication to patients, employees and our company culture has been an inspiration to all of us.”

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Astellas Pharma introduces new formulation of Vaprisol

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. Astellas Pharma US announced this week the introduction of a new formulation of a drug for treating hyponatremia.

The Tokyo-based drug maker introduced Vaprisol (conivaptan hydrochloride injection) Premixed in 5% Dextrose, a new premixed formulation. The Food and Drug Administration originally approved the drug in October.

“It is imperative to promptly address hyponatremia in emergency and hospital settings,” Georgetown University medicine and physiology professor Joseph Verbalis said in a statement. “Vaprisol Premixed in 5% Dextrose is a convenient option for quickly preparing treatment for hyponatremia patients.”

Hyponatremia is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s blood sodium level falls significantly below normal. It is present in about 28% of patients upon admission into acute hospital care, and another 14% acquire it while in acute care. It can result in swelling of the brain, respiratory arrest, catastrophic brain damage and death.

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Diabetes drug makers experience stock jump

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Shares of two large drug makers focused on diabetes increased Wednesday afternoon despite declines in the drug industry as a whole, according to published reports.

The Amex Pharmaceutical Index and Amex Biotechnology Index fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased after a fall earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, however, shares of Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk and San Diego-based drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals increased respectively by 4%, to $49.95, and 3%, to $12.12.

Amylin had released a study earlier in the week showing that a long-acting formulation of the diabetes drug Byetta (exenatide) that has not yet been launched outperformed Merck & Co.’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Takeda’s Actos (pioglitazone hydrochloride) in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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