PHARMACY

Study: early insulin treatment may stop diabetes progression

BY Drew Buono

LONDON A short course of intensive insulin treatment may delay disease progression in people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to a study in The Lancet. Patients who had an initial course of insulin injections did better a year later than those given a short course of oral diabetes drugs.

A second study also published in The Lancet found taking part in diet and exercise programs for six years can prevent or delay diabetes for up to 14 years.

Patients aged 25 to 70 taking part in the trial were given an infusion of insulin, daily insulin injections or oral anti-diabetic tablets. Most of those given insulin were able to meet blood glucose targets in four to five days compared with nine days in those given oral drugs.

After a year, 51 percent of patients given an insulin infusion and 45 percent of those given insulin injections had maintained their good blood glucose levels by sticking to a diet and exercise program. But only 27 percent of those who had initially been treated with oral drugs still had good blood glucose control.

The researchers reported that the early insulin treatment seemed to have restored the function of insulin-producing beta cells in the body. Tests showed the cells had a better response to insulin after treatment and the effect was sustained after a year.

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PHARMACY

Pfizer invests in FivePrime for diabetes, cancer treatments

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO Pfizer has taken an equity investment in FivePrime Therapeutics as part of a new research and licensing deal to find antibody targets and therapeutic protein products to treat diabetes and cancer, according to published reports.

FivePrime, a preclinical stage company expected to file an investigational new drug application for its lead oncology compound within the next six weeks, will receive an upfront payment and the equity investment from Pfizer. It also will get three years of committed research funding.

The deal is one of the first by Pfizer’s new Biotherapeutics and Bioinnovation Center. The center is trying to boost the company’s pipeline by acquiring companies with promising drug developments.

Pfizer will have exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize certain products and targets that are discovered, while FivePrime will receive future milestone and royalty payments.

The deal helps FivePrime take several of its potential cancer products into clinical trials while expanding its discovery work, said president and chief executive officer Gail Maderis.

The companies did not disclose figures for those aspects of the deal.

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H-E-B, Kraft partner to offer health screenings

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK H-E-B, the Texas grocery chain, will offer health screenings at all its pharmacies on the second Saturday of every month until October.

The “Second Saturday Health and Wellness Screenings” program is sponsored by Kraft and offers free glucose and blood pressure screenings, as well as discounts on lipid panel, A1C and cholesterol screenings. Customers will receive free samples of healthy products as well.

Each screening has a theme: children for June, the military for July, the beginning of the school year for August, fitness for September and wellness for October.

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