PHARMACY

Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente launch pilot program for online health records

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente are planning on launching a pilot program to exchange patients’ health information, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The information maintained in Kaiser’s personal health record system, called My Health Manager, will be securely transferred to Microsoft’s HealthVault, which is a Web-based service that allows patients to store and managed medical data from a variety of Web site and selectively share information.

Kaiser’s new program will initially be open to only the 156,000 employees of the company’s health-maintenance organization. Under the pilot program, employees who use Kaiser’s My Health Manager, will be able to securely transfer medical information such as prescriptions, allergies, immunization information and medical conditions from My Health Manager to Microsoft HealthVault accounts. Users can set up permissions that dictate what information is transferred from their online health record. Using HealthVault’s site, users can access their profile from any Internet-connected personal computer.

Both companies say the pilot program has a long-term goal to bring medical data online and give users the ability to take their data wherever they go and share it with other doctors or pharmacies. Typically, control over medical data stored in electronic medical records is in the hands of the health-care profession instead of the patient.

Anna-Lisa Silvestre, Kaiser’s vice president of online services, said the organization plans to run the first phase of the pilot program through the fall of this year, before expanding it to Kaiser’s patient population. Kaiser will be testing the service to make sure it meets security standards and seeing what value their employees gain from it.

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PHARMACY

Ipsen to acquire Tercica in $663 million deal

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Paris-based pharmaceutical company Ipsen is buying Brisbane, Calif.-based biotechnology company Tercica for $663 million, or $9 a share.

Ipsen was already a major shareholder in Tercica, and the deal puts it in control of the remaining shares. It hopes to use the deal to expand operations in the U.S.

Ipsen will also buy British drugmaker Vernalis’ U.S. subsidiary and has acquired rights to Octagen’s experimental hemophilia drug OBI-1.

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Taro tries to cancel deal with Sun

BY Drew Buono

MUMBAI, India In response to Taro announcing that it was canceling a merger agreement with Sun Pharmaceuticals, Sun chairman Dilip Shanghvi fired off a letter telling the drugmaker it cannot exit the deal.

After a year in which Taro’s finances rebounded from red to black, the company said it wanted out of its deal with Sun because the deal did not reflect its improved performance. In response, Shanghvi expresses disappointment that Taro made its announcement without engaging in meaningful dialogue. He also points out that Taro had only $47 million in cash as of March 31 and, without Sun’s infusions of cash last year, “Taro would have virtually negative cash—hardly the ‘dramatic’ improvement of which Taro has boasted.”

Last May, Sun agreed to acquire Taro for $454 million. Some stockholders objected to the agreement’s $7.75 per share offer and petitioned the Tel Aviv District Court for a temporary injunction, which the court never issued, to prevent Taro from harming minority shareholders.

After Taro reported net sales of approximately $313 million and a gross profit of nearly $168 million for 2007, the company’s board of directors unanimously voted to cancel the merger agreement, saying the company’s improved financials made Sun’s offer inadequate. The move came even after Sun purportedly offered to raise the merger price to $10.25 per share, according to Taro.

In light of Taro’s actions, Sun is considering its options, including commencing legal proceedings, Shanghvi says, adding that he is available to discuss a negotiated transaction with Taro.

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