PHARMACY

Paladin acquires outstanding shares of ViRexx

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTREAL Canadian drug maker Paladin Labs has acquired all outstanding shares of biotech firm ViRexx Medical Corp., Paladin announced Tuesday.

ViRexx, also a Canadian company, develops products using its Chimigen Vaccine Platform, T-ACT Platform for cancer-fighting drugs and the AIT Platform, also for developing cancer drugs. 

Paladin paid $1 million to existing ViRexx creditors, while former ViRexx shareholders could receive a payment of up to $2 million if certain conditions are met before Dec. 31, 2009.

“ViRexx spent over [$24.6 million] in developing its promising, innovative technology,” Paladin president and chief executive officer Jonathan Goodman said in a statement. “Unfortunately, ViRexx got caught in this financial storm without a protection of cash.”

Amounts in the original Paladin statement were quoted in Canadian dollars.

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European Commission approves marketing of Celgene drug

BY Alaric DeArment

BOUDRY, Switzerland The European Commission has approved the marketing of a cancer drug by Celgene International Sarl, the Swiss biotech company announced Tuesday.

 The company described Vidaza (azacitidine) as the first epigenetic cancer therapy to significantly extend survival for patients with intermediate-2 and higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia. 

“The European Commission approval of Vidaza is recognition of the significant survival benefited afforded by this therapy for critical hematological malignancies,” Celgene Europe president Philippe Van Holle.

“We will now begin working with local regulatory authorities on a country-by-country basis for reimbursement and distribution for all European Union member states.”

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Teva chief confident bill on follow-on biologics to appear in Congress

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The chief executive officer of Teva North America is confident that a bill to create a regulatory pathway for follow-on biologics will appear in Congress next year, according to published reports.

Bill Marth, chief executive of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries? North America division, told Reuters Tuesday that there was a “very good chance” that Congress would introduce a bill to allow follow-on biologics, also known as biosimilars, in 2009. 

Several large drug makers have already announced plans to create biosimilar divisions, including Merck & Co., Eli Lilly & Co. and AstraZeneca, which announced its own plan earlier this week.

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