PHARMACY

Novartis to sell off blood transfusion diagnostics unit

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland — Swiss drug maker Novartis is selling its blood transfusion diagnostics business to a Spanish manufacturer for $1.675 billion, Novartis said Monday.

The drug maker said it expected the sale, to Grifols, to be completed in 2014. Novartis bought the Emeryville, Calif.-based unit in 2006 as part of its acquisition of Chiron. Its sales in 2012 were about $565 million. Grifols is headquartered in Barcelona.

"The sale of the Novartis blood transfusion diagnostics unit enables us to focus more sharply on our strategic businesses while providing Grifols with a platform for global expansion," Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said. "I am especially pleased that the agreement with Grifols provides our associates with an opportunity to join a company that will focus on growing this business aggressively."

 

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Shire to buy ViroPharma

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN — Shire will pay $4.2 billion to buy a drug maker specializing in treatments for rare diseases.

Shire, headquartered in Ireland, said the $50-per-share acquisition of ViroPharma would strengthen its rare disease portfolio. Exton, Pa.-based ViroPharma’s products include the hereditary angioedema drug Cinryze (C1 esterase inhibitor [human]) and Vancocin (vancomycin hydrochloride), used to treat Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea.

"The acquisition of ViroPharma will immediately benefit Shire and is entirely consistent with our clear strategic objective of strengthening our rare disease portfolio," Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov said. "It brings us a new growth-driving product which augments our already strong growth prospects."

 

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FDA approves Sunovion’s Aptiom as add-on therapy for epilepsy

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for treating epileptic seizures, the agency said Friday.

The FDA announced the approval of Aptiom (eslicarbazepine acetate), made by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, as an add-on medication for seizures in adults. About 200,000 new cases of seizures and epilepsy occur in the United States each year, according to the FDA.

"Some patients with epilepsy do not achieve satisfactory seizure control from existing treatment," FDA Division of Neurology Products acting director Eric Bastings said. "It is important we continue to make new treatment options available to patients."

 

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