PHARMACY

Pfizer, Medivation start phase 3 trial of Alzheimer’s disease treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN FRANCISCO Pfizer and Medivation have started a phase 3 trial of the investigational drug Dimebon, the two companies announced Wednesday.

The one-year, 1,050-patient study will investigate the drug as an addition to Aricept (donepezil) for treating Alzheimer’s disease. The phase 3 study will follow a smaller safety and tolerability trial of the drug combination that found it to be well-tolerated.

“Due to the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease, the condition often requires combination treatment to help relieve symptoms and slow disease progression,” said Bengt Winblad, professor of geriatrics at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute.

Dimebon was originally developed in Russia 25 years ago as an antihistamine. A study presented last July at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease suggested the drug could stabilize Alzheimer’s disease.

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PHARMACY

Petrou tapped to become HHS chief of staff

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON A former aide of former Sen. Tom Daschle will become the new chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services, according to published reports.

Politico reported that Laura Petrou, who worked for the South Dakota Democrat for 20 years, will start the position this week.

Mark Childress has served in the position since January. Childress also previously worked for Daschle.

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Mylan announces new VP global business development

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH Generic drug maker Mylan announced Tuesday that it made an appointment to its executive leadership team.

Mylan appointed former Merrill Lynch investment banker Andrew Cuneo as VP global business development. The company said Cuneo is responsible for coordinating its global business development and strategic efforts.

“Drew brings a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare sectors,” Mylan vice chairman and CEO Robert Coury said in a statement. “His familiarity with our industry – and in particular with Mylan, given his and Merrill Lynch’s active role with the company during the past five years – makes him ideally suited to support the company’s continued growth.”

Most recently, Cuneo served as Merrill Lynch’s director in its global healthcare investment banking group. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from Vanderbilt University.

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