PHARMACY

Pfizer moves two drugs into phase 3 trial

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer said Friday that its development pipeline showed advances in high-priority disease areas.

The company recently started a phase 3 trial of tanezumab, a monoclonal antibody that treats pain by targeting the nerve growth factor and has significantly reduced pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee in clinical studies. Earlier this year, it started a phase 3 study of CP-690,550, a first-in-class, orally administered JAK inhibitor for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

“We are executing our commitment to bring new and effective therapies to patients around the world in areas where there is a significant unmet medical need,” Pfizer Worldwide Pharmaceutical Operations president Ian Read stated.

Pfizer has started 12 phase 3 clinical programs since March last year, the company said.

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Astellas Pharma introduces new formulation of Vaprisol

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. Astellas Pharma US announced this week the introduction of a new formulation of a drug for treating hyponatremia.

The Tokyo-based drug maker introduced Vaprisol (conivaptan hydrochloride injection) Premixed in 5% Dextrose, a new premixed formulation. The Food and Drug Administration originally approved the drug in October.

“It is imperative to promptly address hyponatremia in emergency and hospital settings,” Georgetown University medicine and physiology professor Joseph Verbalis said in a statement. “Vaprisol Premixed in 5% Dextrose is a convenient option for quickly preparing treatment for hyponatremia patients.”

Hyponatremia is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s blood sodium level falls significantly below normal. It is present in about 28% of patients upon admission into acute hospital care, and another 14% acquire it while in acute care. It can result in swelling of the brain, respiratory arrest, catastrophic brain damage and death.

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Diabetes drug makers experience stock jump

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Shares of two large drug makers focused on diabetes increased Wednesday afternoon despite declines in the drug industry as a whole, according to published reports.

The Amex Pharmaceutical Index and Amex Biotechnology Index fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased after a fall earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, however, shares of Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk and San Diego-based drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals increased respectively by 4%, to $49.95, and 3%, to $12.12.

Amylin had released a study earlier in the week showing that a long-acting formulation of the diabetes drug Byetta (exenatide) that has not yet been launched outperformed Merck & Co.’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Takeda’s Actos (pioglitazone hydrochloride) in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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