PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis enters ‘broad collaboration’ with Exelixis

BY Alaric DeArment

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. A French drug maker and an American biotech company have signed an agreement to discover and develop cancer therapies.

Sanofi-Aventis and Exelixis announced Thursday a “broad collaboration” for the discovery of phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitors. Activation of PI3K often occurs in tumors, causing cells to proliferate and tumors to resist chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The two companies also signed a global license agreement for the investigational compounds XL147 and XL765. Under the license, Sanofi-Aventis will have a worldwide exclusive license for the two compounds, currently in phase 1 and phase 1b and 2 clinical trials. Exelixis will participate in clinical trials and manufacturing.

Sanofi-Aventis will pay Exelixis up-front cash payments of $140 under the license and collaboration, as well as guaranteed research funding of $21 million over a three-year research term. Exelixis will also be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestones of more than $1 billion, as well as royalties.

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Study: Insomnia costs U.S. economy $42 billion a year

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Insomnia costs the U.S. economy $42 billion a year, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report, sponsored by drug maker Sanofi-Aventis and the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, shows that many of the estimated 70 million cases of insomnia among Americans remain undiagnosed and untreated.

People with insomnia miss work twice as often as those without it and cost employers about 4.4 days of wages per untreated individual every six months. In some industries and professions, this can have particularly harmful effects: Professionals in training working in health care on recurring 24-hour shifts with little sleep make 36% more serious medical errors and as many as five times as many serious diagnostic errors than those limited to 16 hours.

“We should treat insomnia as it should be treated: a serious medical condition that has significant health and economic implications,” CMPI VP Robert Goldberg said. “Like other chronic diseases, insomnia has been managed according to the cost of treating patients instead of the cost the disease exacts on individuals, employers and society.”

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NABP recommends state boards of pharmacy require PTCB certification

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON An organization that certifies pharmacy techs has heralded a recommendation by one of its parent organizations that encourages state boards of pharmacy to require certification.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board announced Wednesday that the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy recommended state boards of pharmacy to require PTCB certification.

The NABP will amend its Model Act to recommend that all boards of pharmacy require certification of pharmacy technicians by 2015, in accordance with the JCPP Future Vision of Pharmacy Practice.

The PTCB said that part of ensuring that pharmacy technicians meet standards of accountability is implementing a standard measure of competency. According to a poll that the organization commissioned in 2007, 91% of American consumers support strong, nationwide regulations to require training and certification of pharmacy technicians.

“The task force’s latest encouragement of this standard reinforces PTCB’s place as the strongest certification program available for pharmacy technicians,” PTCB executive director and CEO Melissa Murer Corrigan said. “Having consistent requirements for pharmacy technician certification in every state is an important first step towards meeting the high standard of safety that patients expect and deserve.”

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