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Kroger raises $1.5 million to support USO

BY Allison Cerra

CINCINNATI — Kroger announced that its annual Honoring Our Heroes fundraising campaign to support the United Service Organizations garnered $1.5 million.

The funds were raised in partnership with customers and associates through a variety of in-store activities at Kroger stores nationwide, as well as online at HonoringOurHeroes.com. Procter & Gamble and Anheuser Busch also participated in the program and contributed $250,000 each in conjunction with special sales programs in Kroger stores.

All of the funds raised will support the broad range of programs and services the USO provides to service members, their families and our veterans, Kroger said.

"We are forever grateful to our military men and women and their families for their service and sacrifice," Kroger group VP corporate affairs Lynn Marmer said. "The spirit of giving displayed by Kroger’s customers and associates in this year’s Honoring Our Heroes campaign exceeded our expectations. Their generosity will support the USO’s work to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families."

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Merck KGaA, Ono sign agreement for oral MS, cancer drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

DARMSTADT, Germany — German drug maker Merck KGaA will collaborate with Japanese drug maker Ono Pharmaceutical to develop oral therapies for cancer and multiple sclerosis, Merck KGaA said.

The Merck Serono division of Merck KGaA, a separate company from U.S.-based Merck that operates as EMD in the United States and Canada, signed an agreement with Ono that gives it worldwide exclusive rights for development and commercialization of the MS drug ONO-4641 outside of Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Another license agreement gives Ono  Japanese co-development and marketing rights to Stimuvax, an investigative cancer immunotherapy that stimulates the body’s immune system to target cancer cells.

"Merck Serono is committed to building on our leadership franchise in multiple sclerosis, and we are excited about adding a potential oral treatment, ONO-4641, to our pipeline," Merck KGaA executive board member and Merck Serono division head Stefan Oschmann said. "We also believe that Ono will bring a wealth of experience in developing innovative therapies and understanding regulatory requirements in Japan."


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Gilead, Boehringer Ingelheim ink license agreement

BY Allison Cerra

FOSTER CITY, Calif., and INGELHEIM, Germany — Gilead Sciences has signed an agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim to gain exclusive worldwide rights to research, develop and commercialize BI’s novel anti-retroviral compounds.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will pay the German drug maker an upfront payment and possibly will receive additional payments based upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as royalties on future net sales, the companies said.

The class of compounds, known as noncatalytic site integrase inhibitors (NCINIs), target the key component of the HIV virus responsible for incorporation of the viral DNA into the human genome, Gilead and BI said.

"We are very pleased to have established this licensing agreement. The Boehringer Ingelheim compounds complement our internal discovery programs and the efforts are aligned with our commitment to continue to innovate in the field of HIV," Gilead EVP research and development and chief scientific officer Norbert Bischofberger said. "We are looking forward to progressing BI 224436 or other compounds further into clinical development."


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