PHARMACY

Researchers discover ways to prevent infection of cells

BY Alaric DeArment

MADISON, Wis. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found a way to block biological communications between cells that lead to viral infections and tumors.

In a study supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from UW-Madison and other universities created a set of synthetic molecules that interacted with the HIV protein gp41 to prevent the infection of cells. Several viruses, including HIV, Ebola and influenza, use interactions between viral and cellular proteins to infect cells.

“There’s a lot of information transfer that occurs when proteins come together, and one would often like to block that information flow,” UW-Madison chemistry professor Samuel Gellman said in a statement.

While it remains unclear whether this method can be used to create anti-HIV drugs, Gellman said it did could potentially lead to new ways of thinking about designing antiviral drug molecules.

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PHARMACY

Teva receives FDA approval for colon cancer generic

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of a colon cancer treatment.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced last week the approval and launch of oxaliplatin, an injectable drug, in the 50 mg per 10 milliliter and 100 mg per 20 milliliter strengths. The drug is a generic version of Debiopharm’s and Sanofi-Aventis’ Eloxatin and is approved as an adjuvant treatment of stage III colon cancer in patients who have undergone complete resection of the primary tumor and treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.

In June, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled in Teva’s favor, finding that Teva did not infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,338,874, Debiopharm’s patent on Eloxatin. Sanofi and Debiopharm have appealed the decision, and Sanofi has sued the FDA seeking to rescind all approvals of generic oxaliplatin pending resolution of the appeal.

Eloxatin had sales of $1.3 billion in the United States last year, according to IMS Health data.

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NACDS president, CEO Anderson joins Rep. Loebsack for pharmacy tours

BY Alaric DeArment

IOWA CITY, Iowa The head of the largest organization representing the country’s retail pharmacy chains recently went on a short tour in the heartland.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced Monday that president and CEO Steven Anderson accompanied Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in visiting an Iowa City, Iowa, Hartig Drug and a Mount Vernon, Iowa, Shepley Pharmacy in an effort to demonstrate pharmacy’s role in the healthcare system. Anderson is an alumnus of Mount Vernon’s Cornell College and serves on its board of trustees.

“It is my sincere honor to return to Iowa for this important healthcare event,” Anderson said in a statement. “These pharmacy tours will help to raise awareness of the vital role of pharmacy in fostering access to care, reducing healthcare costs and improving patient health and healthcare quality, and we appreciate Rep. Loebsack’s leadership and energetic participating.”

The tours followed the NACDS’ recent Pharmacy and Technology Conference in Boston and RxIMPACT, an advocacy program on Capitol Hill.

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