PHARMACY

Johnson & Johnson invest in Irish drug maker’s Alzheimer’s disease program

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. A U.S. drug maker plans to acquire an Irish drug maker’s Alzheimer’s disease program.

Johnson & Johnson announced that it would acquire “substantially all” of the assets related to Elan Corp.’s Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program through a newly formed company while also investing $1 billion in Elan in exchange for 18.4% of the Dublin, Ireland-based company’s ordinary shares.

The AIP Program is Elan’s part of a collaboration with Wyeth to research, develop and commercialize products for neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, which affects up to 5.3 million people in the United States.

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Biogen Idec, Acorda Therapeutics to develop, commercialize MS drug

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Two drug makers have announced plans to develop and commercialize a multiple sclerosis treatment in markets outside the United States.

Biogen Idec and Acorda Therapeutics said the agreement to market Fampridine-SR (4-aminopyridine) was a sublicensing of an existing license agreement between Acorda and a subsidiary of Elan Corp. The drug is an orally administered, sustained-release drug being developed to improve walking ability in patients with MS.

Under the terms of the agreement, Biogen Idec will commercialize Fampridine-SR and other aminopyridine products in markets outside the United States, and also will have responsibility for regulatory affairs and future clinical development of the drug. In exchange, Acorda will receive an upfront payment of $110 million and additional payments of up to $400 million based on the successful achievement of future regulatory and sales milestones.

The companies said the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing a regulatory approval application for the drug for the U.S. market.

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Study: Joint replacement patients with diabetes greatly benefit from controlled glucose

BY Alaric DeArment

ROSEMONT, Ill. The risk of complications that diabetes patients often have when undergoing total joint replacement decreases when they have their glucose levels under control, according to a recent study.

Published in the July issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the study found that diabetics with uncontrolled glucose levels are more than three times as likely as those with their levels under control to experience a stroke or death after joint replacement surgery, and are approximately twice as likely to experience post-operative bleeding and infection.

“We found that controlled glucose levels really do make a difference for the patient,” Duke University Medical Center orthopedic surgeon and study co-author Milford Marchant said. “It did not matter if the patient had Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.”

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