PHARMACY

Pfizer builds oncology presence with acquisition of Serenex

BY Drew Buono

NEW YORK Pfizer has reached a deal to buy Serenex, according to published reports.

The acquisition is part of a plan by big pharma companies to bolster their pipelines. “The agreement to acquire Serenex is the latest step in the execution of Pfizer’s strategy to expand our commitment to oncology, an area where Pfizer plans to establish a leadership position,” Pfizer chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Kindler said in a written statement.

Serenex has a drug right now in Phase 1 trials called SNX-5422, which treats cancer tumors and fights cancers of the blood, lymph nodes and bone marrow. Other compounds in Serenex’s library have the potential for uses in treating cancer as well as neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and arthritis.

The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter. Financial terms were not disclosed.

One of the drugs not included in the deal is SNX-1012, a compound in clinical development for the treatment of ulcers of the mouth and throat that can occur in cancer patients. That will remain with the current shareholders of Serenex, who will branch off into a separate company to continue working on the compound.

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PHARMACY

Rx program more expensive than chain store prescriptions

BY Diana Alickaj

DENVER Rx Outreach, a Colorado program aimed at helping low-income people afford drugs for chronic diseases, was found to be more expensive for purchasing drugs than regular chain-store pharmacies.

A 90-day supply from a choice of 110 generics costs about $20 each, and three-dozen other drugs sell for $30 and $40. In contrast, Kmart’s program for a choice of 300 generic medications for a 90-day supply retails for $15, while Costco sells their prescriptions for about $10.66 and Walgreens sells them for about $12.99.

The program, Colorado Cares Rx, was unveiled this month by the Department of Health Care Policy and financing in partnership with Rx Outreach. The program was started by the state to develop a low-cost drug program, but the sponsors are finding it harder to compete with chain store rivals, based on pricing.

Officials claim growing pains, however. Rep. Alice Madden, D-Boulder, said “This is just a first step. We have to do more.”

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FDA approves Abilify for teens

BY Drew Buono

TOKYO and PRINCETON, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb drug application for Abilify for the acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, with or without psychotic features in pediatric patients aged 10 to 17.

The approval is based on the results of a four-week study that compared Abilify to a placebo in treating pediatric patients with bipolar disorder I. Otsuka Pharmaceuticals sponsored the study.

“We are pleased that the FDA has approved Abilify to treat pediatric patients aged 10 to 17 years suffering from Bipolar I Disorder,” said Taro Iwamoto, Ph.D., chief executive officer, president and chief operating officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical development and c commercialization. “The approval of this new indication for ABILIFY provides clinicians with expanded treatment options that can help address the therapeutic needs of this population.” 

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