PHARMACY

Par elects new member for board of directors

BY Alaric DeArment

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. Generic drug maker Par Pharmaceutical Cos. has elected Thomas Rice to its board of directors and appointed him to its auditing and nominating-corporate governance committees, the company announced Friday.

Rice is a principal and co-founder of Baltimore-based Columbia Investments, which invests in Maryland-based businesses. From February 2004 to November 2006, he was CEO of Andrx Corp., which was sold to Watson Pharmaceuticals, also serving as director of Andrx from April 2003 to November 2006. He is currently a director of Chemed Corp., which owns VITAS Healthcare Corp. and Roto-Rooter.

“We are very pleased to welcome Tom to our board of directors,” Par president and CEO Patrick LePore said. “Tom is a proven and successful executive whose extensive knowledge of the generic and branded pharmaceutical operations will bring valuable insight to our board.”

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Xenon, Merck team up for cardiovascular disease treatment research

BY Anna Mcgrath

Xenon announced its recent partnership with Merck and Co. to study innovative small molecule candidates for the potential treatment of cardiovascular disease.

According to their agreement, Merck has the option to exclusively license targets and compounds from Xenon for development and commercialization. Xenon then receives research funding and eligibility for exercise fees, research, development and regulatory milestone payments of up to $94.5 million for the first target and up to $89.5 million for each subsequent target used for drug discovery. Xenon will also receive an undisclosed percentage of product sales and retains the right to develop and commercialize certain compounds

Michael Hayden, CSO of Xenon added, “We recognize that Merck is a leading pharmaceutical company with significant presence in and commitment to the cardiovascular space and they are an ideal strategic partner for Xenon. This new alliance, which represents our fifth partnership with a major pharmaceutical company, once again highlights Xenon’s R&D capabilities and validates our drug discovery platform.”

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FDA approves Seroquel for adolescents

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration has given a positive review to an AstraZeneca drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The Anglo-Swedish drug maker announced that the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee had given favorable review to its supplemental approval application for Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate). AstraZeneca is seeking approval for the drug as a treatment for schizophrenia in adolescents ages 13 to 17 and bipolar mania in children and adolescents ages 10 to 17.

“We are pleased that the committee found Seroquel to be effective and acceptably safe for treating adolescents with schizophrenia and children and adolescents with biopolar mania, and we look forward to having further discussions with the FDA regarding the sNDAs,” AstraZeneca chief medical officer Howard Hutchinson said in a statement, referring to the company’s supplemental new drug applications.

The same day the advisory committee made its decision about Seroquel, it also voted in favor of Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa (olanzapine) as a treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar episodes in adolescents, ages 13 to 17.

The committee’s decisions do not constitute approval, but the FDA takes them into consideration when deciding whether to approve a drug.

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