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Sunstar Americas signs licensing deal for ‘Star Wars’ toothbrushes

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — Oral care company Sunstar Americas has inked a licensing agreement with film and entertainment company Lucasfilm to launch a new line of manual and power toothbrushes featuring iconic characters and lightsabers from the “Star Wars” film saga and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” television series.


Earlier this year, Lucasfilm announced the 3-D movie release date of “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” for February 2012. Sunstar will launch the new “Star Wars” toothbrushes just in time for the movie release. The brushes will be available in power, manual and light-up designs.


The manual toothbrushes include “Star Wars” icons Darth Vader, Clone Captain Rex, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker. The brushes are designed with Dome Trim bristles to help reduce gingivitis.


Fans can feel as if they are a part of the “Star Wars” galaxy with the light-up lightsaber toothbrush. The brush flashes for one minute to encourage kids to brush longer. Available in three lightsaber designs, these toothbrushes have interdental bristles to clean hard-to-reach areas between teeth.

Power toothbrushes complete the line of products. These brushes feature an oscillating brush head with soft bristles to clean teeth, while gently massaging gums.

Manual toothbrush displays will be hitting store aisles in February 2012, with additional power and light-up toothbrushes coming in April 2012.

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Federal court issues rulings in favor of Teva in MS drug case

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM — A federal court has acted in favor of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in the drug maker’s patent infringement case against several generic drug companies seeking to market versions of its multiple sclerosis drug.

Teva said the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a set of claim construction rulings in its patent infringement case against Sandoz and Momenta Pharmaceuticals, and Mylan and Natco regarding the drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) that favored Teva; the two parties are each seeking to market generic versions of the drug. A claim construction decision is when a U.S. District Court examines evidence from all parties on the meanings of relevant words used in a patent claim; the court’s interpretation of those words affects how it assesses patent infringement and validity.

The trial is set to begin on Sept. 7.

What sets the case apart from typical patent-infringement cases involving branded and generic drug makers is the nature of Copaxone. Though approved as a pharmaceutical drug, its molecular complexity places it more in league with biotech drugs, which makes the development of a generic version more challenging.

A similar case was that of Sanofi’s blood-thinning drug Lovenox (enoxaparin sodium), also a complex molecule approved as a pharmaceutical; Sandoz now markets a generic version of that drug. According to some analysts, such cases could help shape the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations concerning follow-on biologics, now that the agency must draft them thanks to the regulatory approval pathway created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Study examines effects of dietary weight loss, exercise on insulin resistance among postmenopausal women

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A new study that is slated to appear in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that postmenopausal women may improve their insulin sensitivity through such interventions as diet, exercise, or a combination of the two.

The subjects, which were inactive, overweight/obese postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 70 years, were assigned to one of the following groups during the study: dietary weight-loss program (118 subjects); exercise program (117 subjects); a combined program of exercise and diet (117 subjects); or control (87 subjects). The diet intervention was a group-based reduced-calorie program with a 10% weight-loss goal, while the exercise intervention was 45 min/day, 5 days/week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity, the researchers said.

The research, which was conducted between 2005 and 2009 and analyzed in 2010, found that the diet and diet/exercise combination programs garnered the best results, with insulin resistance decreasing by 24% and 26%, respectively. Groups in the exercise and control groups only saw respective decreases of 9% and 2%. These effects were similar in middle-aged (ages 50 to 60 years) and older women (ages 60 to 75 years).

This study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

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