PHARMACY

Reports: Three drug makers have sights on Pfizer’s generics unit

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Three drug makers are looking into buying Pfizer’s branded-generics drug business, according to published reports.

Reuters reported that Actavis, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and Mylan had expressed interest in buying Pfizer’s business segment focused on generic drugs. However, Reuters reported that Pfizer was not yet ready to make a deal and was in the process of a potential separation of the generics unit.

In July, Pfizer split its branded and generic drug businesses into three segments, including one "value" segment focused on generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, with John Young as group president. Leadership appointments to the three segments became effective on Jan. 1 of this year.

 

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MediSafe updates medication reminder app to allow automatic refills

BY Alaric DeArment

HAIFA, Israel — Users of a medication-management app can now refill their prescriptions using an enhancement to it.

MediSafe announced Monday an updated version of its Medication Refill Reminder app allowing users to enter contact information for their preferred pharmacies and, once alerted that a medication refill is needed, to click on the pharmacy logo that directs them to the mobile refill page of the specified pharmacy. The app currently supports refills for Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Health Mart.

"One key issue tied to non-adherence is people’s forgetfulness when it comes to refilling medications, which is why we implemented this new option to make it easier for users to act instantly when a reminder is sent," MediSafe CEO Omri Shor said. "Our mobile solution plays an important supportive role in helping people manage their medications properly, as well as their families, which motivates us to continuously update and make our applications more personalized and convenient for every user."

 

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Geisinger Health System form partnership in major genetics initiative

BY Alaric DeArment

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — A drug maker has started a program to find the genetic determinants of human disease and speed the discovery and development of new drugs. The program includes a five-year project that it said would be one of the largest of its kind in terms of the number of patients involved.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Geisinger Health System, which serves about 3 million patients, have recruited more than 100,000 patient volunteers for the project, in which Geisinger will collect samples from them and Regeneron will perform sequencing and genotyping to generate genomic data. The goal of the project is to improve patient care and help drug discovery and development.

"Genetics has been at the core of our research efforts at Regeneron since its early days," Regeneron president and chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos said. "In fact, our first [Food and Drug Administration-approved] therapy treats a rare genetic disorder, and the target of one of our product candidates in late-stage development that acts to lower LDL cholesterol was identified using human genetics. With the tremendous recent advances in DNA sequencing, we believe that now is the time to increase our commitment to and invest in human genetics research."

Regeneron will use its research and functional biology capabilities to find associations between genes and disease, while Geisinger will collect samples using its MyCode repository and electronic medical records.

The collaboration between the two companies is part of a larger human genetics initiative through Regeneron’s subsidiary, the Regeneron Genetics Center, which also has partnerships in place with the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute, and plans are in place to develop relationships with other academic, government and medical systems.

"Regeneron has always believed in the power of genetics to help shape our understanding of disease and to guide development of novel therapeutics," Yancopoulos said. "However, there have been major limitations that have prevented optimal utilization of human genetics at a large scale. We believe that we can now address these limitations and that now is the time to increase our investment in human genetics."

 

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