PHARMACY

MinuteClinic becomes participating provider in all CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield plans

BY Antoinette Alexander

MINNEAPOLIS MinuteClinic is now a participating provider in insurance plans offered by CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the company announced on Wednesday.

Nearly 3.4 million CareFirst members now have in-network access to MinuteClinic healthcare centers located inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in Maryland and portions of northern Virginia in the CareFirst service area.

Previously, MinuteClinic was a participating provider with CareFirst’s preferred provider and federal employee plans in Maryland only.

“This is an important development in the growth of our business in Maryland and northern Virginia as we expand access to care to new customers,” stated Chip Phillips, MinuteClinic president. “By offering high-quality treatment in a convenient setting, we are working with CareFirst to help reduce healthcare insurance expenses for its members, as well as time spent away from members’ families and the workplace.”

MinuteClinic, which is owned by CVS Caremark, has about 500 locations in 25 states.

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GSK to develop inflammatory disease treatments with Chroma Therapeutics

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will collaborate with fellow British pharmaceutical company Chroma Therapeutics to develop treatments for such inflammatory diseases as rheumatoid arthritis.

GSK announced Tuesday that it would work with Chroma to use Chroma’s proprietary esterase-sensitive motif technology, which uses amino acid esters to make drugs target cells that cause inflammatory diseases.

Under the terms of the collaboration with GSK’s Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery, Chroma will seek to discover new pharmaceutical drugs in four discovery and development programs, receiving a “significant” up-front cash payment and an equity financing investment by GSK, as well as potential milestones, royalties and option fees, including possibly more than $1 billion in milestones.

“This agreement marks GSK’s continued efforts to access the best science and technology platforms worldwide,” GSK VP and head of the European CEEDD Shelagh Wilson stated.

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Takeda completes acquisition of IDM Pharma

BY Alaric DeArment

OSAKA, Japan Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. completed its tender offer for a company that develops cancer drugs.

Takeda announced Tuesday that it had completed its tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of IDM Pharma for $2.64 per share, with about 86% of IDM shares tendered.

The two companies originally agreed to the acquisition in May, with Takeda showing particular interest in IDM’s malignant bone cancer drug Mepact (mifamurtide), which European regulators approved in March for marketing in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

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