PHARMACY

Study suggests increased level of certain protein may lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO Having high levels of a certain protein could indicate a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study.

The study, published in the July 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people with high levels of adiponectin, a protein produced in the fat cells that has anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing properties, are at lower risk of developing the disease.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health used data from 13 studies with 14,598 participants and 2,623 new cases of Type 2 diabetes for their analysis, finding that higher levels of adiponectin were consistently associated with lower risk of the disease among men and women across racial and ethnic groups. Still, the researchers wrote, the exact relationship between the protein and disease risk remains unclear, and the studies could not show a direct, causal relationship.

“Although these epidemiologic studies cannot establish causality, the consistency of the association across diverse populations, the dose-response relationship and the supportive findings in mechanistic studies indicate that adiponectin is a promising target for the reduction of risk of Type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote.

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Mylan gets FDA approval for AstraZeneca drug generic

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH The Food and Drug Administration has approved Mylan’s generic version of a drug for treating prostate cancer.

Mylan announced Tuesday the approval of bicalutamide tablets in the 50-mg strength. The tablets are a generic version of AstraZeneca’s Casodex, which had U.S. sales of $322 million for the 12 months ended March 31 in the same strength, according to IMS Health data, and global sales of $1.26 billion, according to AstraZeneca financial data.

Teva announced Monday the launch of its own version of the drug.

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Merck shareholders approve merger with Schering-Plough

BY Allison Cerra

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. It’s official: Merck & Co.’s shareholders have approved its merger with Schering-Plough.

Merck announced Friday that its shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed merger. The preliminary tabulation indicates that more than 99% of the company’s outstanding shares voted in favor of the transaction. Merck held its special shareholder meeting in Bridgewater, N.J. on Friday to vote on the proposed merger.

“We are gratified by the shareholder confidence demonstrated through the outcome of today’s vote,” said Richard T. Clark, Merck’s chairman, president and CEO. “On behalf of Merck’s Board and management team, I want to thank our shareholders, customers and dedicated employees for their support throughout this process. We look forward to completing the merger with Schering-Plough and to creating a strong, global leader that can make a substantial difference to patients and global health care.”

As previously announced on March 9, under the terms of the agreement, Schering-Plough shareholders will receive 0.5767 of a share of new Merck common stock and $10.50 in cash for each share of Schering-Plough. For Merck shareholders, existing Merck share certificates will automatically represent an equal number of shares in the new Merck after completion of the merger.

The company expects the transaction to close in the fourth quarter of 2009, as originally planned. The transaction remains subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, as well as clearance by the European Commission under the SEC Merger Regulation and certain other foreign jurisdictions.

All proxy cards and ballots submitted at the special meeting were processed by IVS Associates Inc. for final tabulation and certification. Final voting results will be publicly announced promptly after they have been tabulated and certified.

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