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Otsuka to buy Astex for $886 million

BY Alaric DeArment

TOKYO — Japanese drug maker Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. is buying U.S.-based Astex Pharmaceuticals for $886 million, Otsuka said Thursday.

Astex, based in Dublin, Calif., uses a drug-discovery system known as fragment-based drug discovery, which enables rapid discovery and development of compounds for target proteins implicated in diseases and works by evaluating binding of target proteins with small molecules through 3D structural analysis. Astex developed and launched the chemotherapy drug Dacogen (decitabine), currently sold by Eisai.

"I hope that this acquisition of Astex will strengthen not only our cancer portfolio, but also our drug-discovery research in the central nervous system field, through the acquisition of Astex’s fragment-based drug design technology," Otsuka president and representative director Taro Iwamoto said. "Astex’s unique fragment-based drug discovery technology and clinical oncology research and development capabilities, born out of the passion of its researchers, exemplify our corporate mottos and believe in ‘sozosei’ (creativity) and ‘jissho’ (proof through execution)."


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FY2013 sales grow by 6% at Costco

BY Alaric DeArment

ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Costco reported sales of $102.9 billion for fiscal year 2013, the club retailer said Thursday.

The figure for the fiscal year, which ended Sunday, represented a 6% increase over fiscal year 2012’s $97.1 billion. For the fourth quarter, the company reported sales of $31.8 billion, a 1% increase over fourth-quarter 2012’s $31.5 billion.

Sales for the month of August were $7.95 billion, a 7% increase over August 2012’s $7.44 billion.


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Rite Aid comps increase 1.1% in August

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s same-store sales got another boost in August, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The 4,604-store chain reported a 1.1% increase in same-store sales for the five-week period that ended Aug. 31, including a 1.7% decrease in front-end comps and a 2.5% increase in pharmacy comps, which included a 1.6% negative effect from the introduction of new generic drugs. Same-store prescription count decreased by 0.2%.

Total sales for the month were $2.425 billion, a 1.1% increase over $2.399 billion last year.

For the 13 weeks that ended Aug. 31, same-store sales increased by 1%, including a 0.3% decrease in front-end comps and a 1.7% increase in pharmacy comps. Total sales for the period were $6.25 billion, a 0.7% increase over $6.205 billion during the same period last year.

For the year to date, comps decreased by 0.8%, including flat front-end comps and a 1.1% decrease in pharmacy comps, as well as a 0.1% decrease in same-store prescription count. Total-store sales during the same period were $12.514 billion, a 1% decrease compared with $12.646 billion during the same period last year.


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