PHARMACY

Pfizer, Medivation to develop Dimebon for Alzheimer’s

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Did scientists in the Soviet Union inadvertently help to create a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease?

Pfizer announced Wednesday that it would work with San Francisco-based Medivation to develop and market Dimebon, a cold medicine invented in Russia in the early 1980s that could become a new treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Russian scientists conducting studies on the drug, originally developed as an antihistamine, found that it improved certain areas of memory and thinking, including those involved with routine activities. The Food and Drug Administration has said that the Russian results must be replicated before it can approve the drug.

As part of the deal, Pfizer will give Medivation an upfront payment of $225 and milestone payments of up to $500 million.

If results are successful, they could be of great help to Pfizer. A recent report by EvaluatePharma showed that the New York-based drug maker faces a patent cliff, whereby a number of its drugs will go off patent by 2014, knocking it from its position as the world’s top drug maker and allowing competitor Roche to take its place.

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Teva’s Azilect slows Parkinson’s disease in trials

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Results from a Phase III clinical trial have shown that Teva Pharmaceutical’s Azilect 1-mg tablets can slow the progression of the disease, the drug maker announced.

Researchers gave 1,176 Parkinson’s disease patients daily 1- to 2-mg doses of Azilect for 18 months or a placebo for the first nine months and the drug for the second nine months.

Patients who took the 1-mg dose of Azilect showed significant improvement compared with patients in the placebo group.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Azilect in May 2006 as a monotherapy for early-stage ParkinsonOs disease and as an adjunct therapy to levodopa in moderate-to-advanced stages of the disease.

The drug, known generically as rasagiline mesylate, is available in 30 countries. Danish drug maker Lundbeck markets it in Europe, and both companies plan to co-promote it in the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

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Taro to ask for extension on Sun Pharmaceuticals’ offer

BY Alaric DeArment

TEL AVIV,, Israel Taro Pharmaceutical Industries has said it will appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court to contest a ruling in the Tel Aviv District Court regarding India-based Sun Pharmaceuticals’ offer to acquire the Israeli generic drug maker.

The District Court judge had called Taro’s demand for a tender offer from Sun disingenuous, considering Taro’s acceptance of the offer a year ago.

Taro plans to ask the Supreme Court to extend the deadline for Sun’s offer, which was Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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