PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis, Regeneron to develop biotech drugs

BY Alaric DeArment

PARIS A French drug maker and a company in the United States will step up their efforts to develop biotech drugs derived from human cells.

Sanofi-Aventis and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced that they would expand their agreement to create and market monoclonal antibodies in a deal that will have Sanofi increasing its annual funding for the collaboration to $160 million between 2010 and 2017. The French pharmaceutical company had been pledging $100 million a year to the collaboration since it started, in November 2007.

The two companies hope to have four or five antibodies in clinical trials each year, developed using Regeneron’s VelocImmune drug development platform. Regeneron said it would also contribute its “next generation technologies,” but didn’t specify what those were. Antibodies currently in development include potential treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, pain and cancer.

“The first two years of our collaboration with Sanofi-Aventis have been extremely productive, with five VelocImmune human antibodies in or entering clinical development,” Regeneron president and CEO Leonard Schleifer said in a statement. “The expansion of our collaboration provides even greater resources over a longer time horizon and will boost our efforts to build a deep pipeline of new human antibody product candidates.”

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Teva files suit against Sandoz, Momenta over patent infringement

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has motioned to amend a complaint against two generic drug makers over their alleged infringement of Teva’s patent on a multiple sclerosis drug.

The Israeli drug maker announced Tuesday that it had sought to amend a complaint filed against Sandoz and Momenta Pharmaceuticals in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over their attempts to make a generic version of the injected drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). The amended complaint has been filed with the court under seal.

Teva, which makes branded drugs in addition to being the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, originally filed the suit in August 2008, alleging infringement of multiple patents covering the drug.

Teva said that Copaxone is a “highly complicated” drug to develop, and given its inability to fully characterize its active ingredients, it has “serious doubts” about another drug company’s ability to make a comparable generic version.

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Boston Scientific sponsors World Diabetes Day 2009

BY Allison Cerra

NATICK, Mass. A worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices announced its official sponsorship of World Diabetes Day for the second consecutive year. The program is organized by the International Diabetes Federation, and represents its primary global awareness campaign in the fight against diabetes.

The IDF is a worldwide alliance of more than 200 diabetes associations in 160 countries that share a mission of enhancing the lives of people with diabetes. It promotes appropriate diabetes care, prevention and the pursuit of a cure through such activities as World Diabetes Day, which will be observed Nov. 14.

“As a global leader in the medical device industry and a company committed to improving lives, we have a responsibility to support critical health initiatives like World Diabetes Day,” said David McFaul, Boston Scientific SVP international. “Many of our employees see first hand the devastating impact diabetes can have on patients and their families. We’re proud to continue our support of this important campaign with numerous activities planned at Boston Scientific sites around the globe intended to promote diabetes awareness and education.”

As part of its support, Boston Scientific once again will participate in the IDF World Diabetes Day Monument Challenge by temporarily illuminating its corporate headquarters in Natick, Mass., and changing the color of its Internet homepage to blue in recognition of World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14. Additionally, Boston Scientific further will support World Diabetes Day with activities at company facilities around the world, including free diabetes screenings for employees and “lunch and learn” sessions.

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