PHARMACY

LabCorp to acquire Tandem Labs, NWT

BY Drew Buono

BURLINGTON, N.C. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings and Tandem Labs have entered into an agreement under which LabCorp will acquire all the outstanding shares of Tandem Labs and its parent company NWT.

Tandem Labs will continue to operate under its existing name with its current employee and management structure, as a member of the Esoterix clinical trials group at LabCorp. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Our management team and dedicated employees are very enthusiastic about this development,” said Denis Lin, president and chief executive officer of Tandem Labs. “LabCorp is a company long known for its ability to bring leading-edge services to the market. Our philosophy of assisting customers in a client-centric fashion with the development and launch of new medicines mirrors the values of LabCorp, making us very compatible. Not only does this proposed transaction support Tandem’s continued growth, but it creates an invaluable resource for our clients in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology arena.”

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Harvard program seeks to discourage doctors from prescribing pediatric antibiotics

BY Drew Buono

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. A program was conducted at the Harvard Medical School in an effort to change doctors’ prescribing habits for antibiotics and to educate parents of small children about the proper use of antibiotics, according to Reuters.

The program was initiated because of the emergence of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics because doctors prescribed the medications when they weren’t really needed.

Harvard Medical School’s Jonathan Finkelstein and colleagues conducted the program in 16 Massachusetts communities between 1988 and 2003. Finkelstein’s team measured changes in antibiotic prescribing rates among three groups of children: 3 to 24 months, 24 to 48 months, and 48 to 72 months.

By the end of the study, the intervention had not changed the rate of antibiotic use in the youngest group, but for children between 24 and 48 months, the rates decreased by 4.2 percent and for the oldest children, the rates decreased by 6.7 percent.

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Patent office rejects Gilead patents for Viread

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Patent and Trademark Office has tentatively rejected four patents for Gilead Sciences’ HIV drug Viread, according to published reports.

The Public Patent Foundation filed a petition in March seeking to revoke the patents for the drug because they felt the drug should never have been patented in the first place, as the technology used to make the drug had been previously disclosed publicly.

The PTO is now re-examining the patents. Industry experts have said that it is common for the federal agency to tentatively rule patents invalid after having been asked by a third party to re-examine them. What would be unlikely would be the patents being permanently revoked, which has only occurred about 10 percent of the time.

Gilead sells Viread under that name and in combination with other drugs as Truvada and Atripla. Taken together, the three HIV treatments generated $3.1 billion in sales last year, according to the company.

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