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J&J acquires Alios BioPharma for $1.8 billion

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday announced a definitive agreement to acquire Alios BioPharma, a privately held clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for viral diseases, for approximately $1.8 billion in cash. The acquisition will include Alios BioPharma's portfolio of potential therapeutics for viral infections including compound AL-8176, an orally administered antiviral therapy currently in Phase 2 studies for the treatment of infants with respiratory syncytial virus. 
 
"We are excited that this acquisition will enable us to explore treatment options for a number of viral infections, including RSV, the last of the major pediatric diseases with no available preventive therapy," said William Hait, global head, research and development, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. "AL-8176 complements our existing early stage portfolio for RSV which aims to prevent and treat this disease, the leading cause of acute lower respiratory infection in children under the age of five."
 
The closing is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2014.
 
"Alios BioPharma's pipeline is closely aligned with our vision to continue to address important unmet medical needs through scientific innovation," added Johan Van Hoof, global head, infectious diseases and vaccines, Janssen. "This acquisition will allow us to combine their innovative compounds with our vast experience in viral diseases to deliver novel medicines and treatment options for patients worldwide." 
 
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DHL Parcel to deliver medicine to remote island using unmanned drones

BY Michael Johnsen

BONN, Germany — DHL Parcel will soon launch a unique pilot project on the North Sea island of Juist, Germany, the company announced last week. For the first time worldwide, medications and other urgently needed goods will be delivered to the island at certain times of the day by DHL parcelcopter. This research project represents the first and only time in Europe that a flight by an unmanned aircraft will be operated outside of the pilot's field of vision in a real-life mission. 
 
By taking this step, DHL Parcel has moved to the next phase of the parcelcopter research project it launched in December 2013.
 
Since its maiden flight last December, the DHL parcelcopter has been modified to perform this specific type of mission. The research team optimized such aspects as flight duration, flight range and speed to address the special challenges posed by the wind and marine-weather conditions of the North Sea. "Our DHL parcelcopter 2.0 is already one of the safest and most reliable flight systems in its class that meets the requirements needed to fulfill such a mission," said Jürgen Gerdes, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL's Post – eCommerce – Parcel Division. "We are proud that this additional service can create added value for the residents of and visitors to the island of Juist and are pleased with the support we have received from the involved communities and agencies."
 
The flight route to the island of Juist is roughly 12 kilometers. The flight will be completely automated for the first time, meaning a pilot does not have to take any action at all during any phase of the flight. For safety reasons, and in compliance with the requirements set by the responsible agencies, the DHL parcelcopter will be constantly monitored during the flight by a mobile ground station in Norddeich so that manual action can be immediately taken in real time if a malfunction or emergency occurs. The ground station will also maintain constant contact with air traffic controllers.
 
To ensure that the DHL parcelcopter operates reliably, flies safely and always lands at the right location, an autopilot with automated takeoff and landing functions was developed.
 
At an altitude of 50 meters, the parcelcopter can travel up to 18 meters per second depending on wind speed. It will primarily transport medications from the mainland to the island of Juist at certain times during the week and on weekends. This delivery option will focus on times when such alternatives as ferries and flights are not available. The parcelcopter will take off from the harbor in Norddeich. It will land at a launch pad and landing field on the island of Juist reserved specifically for the parcelcopter. From there, a DHL courier will then deliver the goods to the recipient. To optimally secure the goods during transport, DHL Parcel developed a special air-transport container that is extremely lightweight as well as weather- and waterproof.
 
The medications for the transport can be ordered from the research project's collaboration partner on Juist, Seehund pharmacy. 
 
Currently, there are no specific plans to use the DHL parcelcopter in normal parcel delivery operations. To the extent that it is technically feasible and economically sensible, the use of parcelcopters to deliver urgently needed goods to thinly populated or remote areas or in emergencies is an interesting option for the future, DHL noted.
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Report: Target affiliates with Texas Health Physicians Group for eight Dallas-area Target Clinics

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Physicians Group will reportedly affiliate with eight Target Clinics in the Dallas area, according to a report by the Dallas Business Journal.

The Dallas-area Target Clinics are the company’s first locations in Texas, the report stated.

Under the agreement, physicians from the Texas Health Physicians Group will serve as collaborating physicians at the Target Clinics.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, Texas Health Physicians Group has inked a similar deal with CVS Health’s MinuteClinic. Physicians of Texas Health Physicians Group serve as collaborating physicians for 34 MinuteClinic locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, in addition to seven more North Texas locations scheduled to open by early 2015.

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