PHARMACY

Novartis’ investigational COPD treatment may improve lung function

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland Early results of a phase 3 trial have shown that an investigational treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can improve lung function within five minutes of the first dose.

Drug maker Novartis said Thursday that QAB149 (indacaterol), an inhaled drug belonging to a class known as bronchodilators, “significantly” improved lung function compared to formoterol and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Combivent (tiotropium), two currently approved COPD treatments. Formoterol fumarate is the active ingredient in Novartis’ Foradil and is also an active ingredient in AstraZeneca’s Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol fumarate dihydrate).

“Bronchodilator treatment is the first-line approach for the symptomatic management of patients with COPD, and long-acting bronchodilators have a number of advantages,” University of Nebraska Medical Center professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine Stephen Rennard said.

COPD affects 210 million people worldwide and is a leading and growing cause of death.

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PHARMACY

Pfizer expands generics portfolio with Aurobindo, Claris deals

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A big pharmaceutical company has entered licensing agreements with two Indian generics companies, expanding its portfolio by 75 products.

Pfizer announced Wednesday that the agreements, with Aurobindo Pharma and Claris Lifesciences, would “significantly expand” the portfolio of medicines in its Established Products Business Unit, giving it products to market in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and more than 70 emerging market countries.

“[Today’s] announcement demonstrates Pfizer’s commitment to improving the global public health landscape by making needed quality medicines – in a range of disease areas – accessible to underserved populations worldwide,” Pfizer chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler stated. “The off-patent marketplace worldwide too often suffers from quality and supply reliability issues.”

Under the terms of the agreements, Pfizer has acquired the rights to 55 pill drugs and five injected drugs from Aurobindo to sell in emerging markets, and 15 injected drugs from Claris to sell in developed markets.

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Lilly, Medtronic to deliver diabetes education

BY Alaric DeArment

INDIANAPOLIS A drug maker and a medical device maker have announced a collaboration to provide education on care and management of diabetes.

Eli Lilly & Co. and Medtronic said their marketing and sales operations would work with healthcare professionals to deliver diabetes education for patients and caregivers affected by Type 1 diabetes, including the development of educational resources and classes around the initiation and intensive management of insulin, insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring.

“Medtronic and Lilly are joining together to help improve patient access to high-quality diabetes education,” Medtronic SVP and diabetes business unit president Chris O’Connell said. “Because diabetes management is complicated, it is crucial that physicians and patients have the best access to information and educational resources.”

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