PHARMACY

Sanofi, Genzyme get closer to deal

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — It appears that French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis’ efforts to acquire U.S. biotech company Genzyme are getting somewhere, according to company and media reports.

Genzyme said Monday that talks about the acquisition would involve executives from both companies. Sanofi originally voiced its intent to buy Genzyme for $18.5 billion in late July, or about $69 per share. Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, the purchase price may be increased to $80 per share, including a contingent value right, which buyers and sellers might use when they can’t reach a price agreement; Bloomberg reported that the CVR could be worth $5 to $6 per share.

In this case, the CVR would be based on whether or not Genzyme can secure approval of the drug Campath (alemtuzumab) as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. The drug currently is approved to treat leukemia, but according to reports, it may achieve sales of more than $3 billion by 2017 if it wins the approval.

Genzyme had rejected Sanofi’s previous acquisition offers, saying the latter undervalued the former, which in recent years has been troubled by contamination problems at its manufacturing plant in Cambridge. Genzyme specializes in treatments for rare genetic diseases, such as the Fabry disease treatment Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta) and the Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa).

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Aurora appoints Gail Hanson as SVP, CFO

BY Alaric DeArment

MILWAUKEE — Aurora Health Care has appointed a Wisconsin state official as its SVP and CFO.

The nonprofit health system, which runs Aurora Health Care Pharmacy in Wisconsin, announced the appointment of Gail Hanson to the two positions, replacing David Eager, who will continue with Aurora’s finance group under Hanson’s leadership.

Hanson previously served as deputy executive director of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board since 2004, being in charge of accounting, governance and general management functions. The SWIB manages the assets of the Wisconsin Retirement System, the State Investment Fund and other state trust funds, with a total of more than $78 billion in assets as of 2009, according to the organization’s website.

“We in health care are facing a time of many complex financial challenges and opportunities brought about by federal and state reform, the down economy, the competitive landscape and declining reimbursement,” Aurora Health Care president and CEO Nick Turkal said. “Gail’s strong record of financial leadership in the public and private sectors and her strategic capabilities will put Aurora in a position to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of us.”

From 1999 to 2004, Hanson was SVP, treasurer and CFO for Cobalt, a Milwaukee-based health insurer that grew out of Blue Cross Blue Shield United of Wisconsin and since has changed its name to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

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Kapvay designed to treat ADHD

BY Alaric DeArment

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Drug maker Shionogi has launched a new medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the company said Monday.

Shionogi announced the launch of Kapvay (clonidine hydrochloride), an extended-release drug for treating ADHD in children and adolescents. The company said the drug was the only ADHD treatment approved as an add-on to stimulant medications, though it can be used alone as well.

“Shionogi is extremely proud to bring Kapvay to market in the United States,” Shionogi chief medical officer Donald Manning said. “The extended-release version of clonidine hydrochloride found in Kapvay offers an exciting new treatment option for children and adolescents with ADHD who are not experiencing adequate symptom relief from stimulants alone.”

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