PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk study shows Liraglutide more effective than Amaryl

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO Novo Nordisk has released results from a phase III study that showed its diabetes medications Liraglutide was more effective in controlling blood glucose sugar than Aventis Pharmaceuticals’ Amaryl.

In the 12-month study, 62 percent of patients treated with Liraglutide who had not been previously treated with diabetes medications achieved an average reduction in blood sugar that brought them below the ADA target for HbA1c of 7 percent. The study also showed that patients taking Liraglutide once daily as monotherapy experienced significant weight loss and lowering of blood pressure.

Novo recently submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for Liraglitude as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

“This study showed that when used as initial drug treatment for Type 2 diabetes, once-daily Liraglutide not only statistically significantly reduced blood glucose, weight, and systolic blood pressure, but sustained blood glucose reductions for the duration of the study in patients who had never taken diabetes medications before,” said study investigator Robert E. Ratner, vice president for Scientific Affairs at the MedStar Research Institute. “The sustained reduction in blood glucose suggests that Liraglutide may be beneficial when used earlier in the course of diabetes.”

Another study performed by Novo showed that Levemir was just as effective as the insulin glargine over a 24-hour period in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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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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PHARMACY

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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