PHARMACY

Peplin study proves successful in treating pre-cancerous skin condition

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISBANE, Australia Results from a clinical study of a drug for treating actinic keratosis were successful, the drug’s manufacturer announced Wednesday.

Peplin said its topical gel, PEP005 (ingenol mebutate), cleared 15.6 to 42.3 percent of AK lesions across six treatment groups in the United States and Australia in a phase 2b clinical trial of 240 patients. AK is a pre-cancerous skin condition resulting from sun exposure.

“The major challenge we face is patient dissatisfaction with current topical medications, which have long durations of treatment, pain and persisting skin irritation and redness,” Sydney, Australia, trial investigator Robert Rosen said in a statement. “As a result, patients are often unwilling to use their medications, particularly for lesions on the face and scalp.”

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General Mills donates to charity and advertises through NBC’s ‘Biggest Loser’

BY Melissa Valliant

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. Major food manufacturer General Mills is backing NBC’s hit show “Biggest Loser” with its first-ever advertising slot for the show’s seventh season, which started Tuesday night. The spot will be viewed by approximately 8.6 million viewers, and fall 2008 showed a 2% rise in adult viewers ages 18 to 49, a demographic that advertisers often like to target. Nine other marketers from the show’s December season will also be advertising.

General Mills is also sponsoring a “Pound for Pound Challenge” in which the Cheerios and Progresso soup maker will be contributing 10 cents to Feeding America for every pound of weight loss pledged at biggestloser.com.

“This is our first integrated partnership of this kind,” said John Haugen, General Mills’ vice president of health and wellness. “We’re looking for a positive impact on all of our brands.”

Though popular (“Biggest Loser” averaged 8.9 million viewers last January), the show will be rivaling Fox’s incredibly successful “American Idol,” which begins next week and also airs Tuesday nights. Idol can bring in an audience of up to 25 million.

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Adventrx faces further workforce cuts

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO After laying off 55 percent of its workforce, Adventrx is planning further reductions in its employees to extend its remaining cash reserves, the company announced Monday.

The company said that in the end, it will have 14 employees. It has also reduced and delayed spending on third-party consulting and vendor services, including contract manufacturing.

The remaining employees will evaluate options for the future and continue the company?s study of the drug candidate ANX-514 (docetaxel emulsion) and submitting an approval application for the candidate ANX-530 (vinorelbine emulsion).

“It’s never easy to let go employees, particularly those who have been with the company for many years and who have made contributions to the company,” Adventrx board chairman Jack Lief said in a statement.

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