PHARMACY

Onglyza shows reductions in glucose levels

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO A diabetic drug developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca produced significant reductions in key measures of glucose control, fasting plasma glucose and postprandial glucose in treatment naive people with type 2 diabetes compared to a placebo.

The drug, Onglyza, recently completed a 24-week, phase III study. Out of the 401 patients involved in the trial, the percentage of individuals receiving Onglyza 2.5 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg or placebo who achieved the American Diabetes Association’s recommended A1C of less than 7 percent at Week 24 was 35 percent, 38 percent and 41 percent respectively.

The two companies entered into the collaboration to develop Onglyza and another type 2 diabetes drug, dapagliflozin, in January 2007.

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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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