PHARMACY

Takeda acquires Millennium to keep influence in global market

BY Diana Alickaj

TOKYO In efforts to remain an influencing presence in the global pharmaceutical industry, Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. has decided to buy U.S. biotech Millennium Pharmaceutical Inc. for about $9 million, according to published reports.

Takeda, Japan’s biggest drug company, is planning on buying Millennium for a reported $25 PER share, a total of $8.8 billion. The deal would give Takeda strength in the market for cancer treatments, which Millennium has, including Velcade, a drug used to treat blood cancer, which is expected to create revenue of $345 million this year.

Takeda specializes in treatments for diabetes as well as cardiovascular and anti-infective drugs, and since its patents for its biggest-selling products, Prevacid, which treats ulcers, and the diabetes treatment Actos, expire in 2009 and 2011, the company is making several acquisitions to keep its company from being a “takeover target,” according to published reports.

Takeda has also purchased Amgen’s Japan unit, as well as marketing rights for 13 Amgen drugs in Japan and China.

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PHARMACY

Accuracy at institutional pharmacies is focus of new Cardinal/TCGRx pact

BY Jim Frederick

DUBLIN, Ohio Drug distribution and health services giant Cardinal Health has forged a three-year pact with TCGRx, a firm specializing in automation and bar-code-driven inventory tracking, to boost efficiencies and dispensing accuracy among its long-term-care pharmacy customers.

TCGRx offers automated pharmaceutical storage and dispensing systems, including automated oral solid packaging as well as shelving and drawer systems that store, count and package pharmaceuticals into patient-specific doses and pre-packaged formats. The systems can reduce storage space by up to 50 percent, according to Cardinal. They can also make it easier for operators of long-term-care pharmacies to manage inventory, applying sophisticated tracking and reporting that allow for streamlined ordering when inventory levels reach pre-defined levels.

“The systems will help improve patient safety through more accurate dispensing and patient-specific packaging that is easier to read and administer,” said Law Burks, vice president of marketing management for Cardinal’s healthcare supply chain services-pharmaceuticals division. The result, he said, would be improved patient compliance with drug therapy.

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PHARMACY

Maryland grants $62 million for expansion of university Pharmacy Hall

BY Diana Alickaj

BALTIMORE, Md. Governor Martin O’Malley along with the state legislature of Maryland, has granted $62 million for the addition to Pharmacy Hall in the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, according to published reports.

The students and faculty of University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have been rallying for government support of the decade-long plan since Feb. 14, demanding that there would be an accommodation to the increased enrollment of an extra 120 students. Since there has been a shortage of pharmacists in America, the university has been calling for more room to accommodate its students, and to allow more students interested in pharmacy to enroll.

David J. Ramsay, DM, DPhil, president of the University of Maryland said of the funding, “In securing more than $62 million for the construction of the Pharmacy Hall addition, Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly have recognized the need to educate more pharmacists, carry out more cutting-edge research and deepen our commitment to serve the community. We are thankful for their leadership and their vision in helping us move forward with this desperately needed expansion.”

According to published reports, the building will be 92,635-square-feet, and seven stories high. It will include lecture halls with wiring for computers and distance-learning technology. The university also will build a patient interaction laboratory, which would be dedicated to research and the testing of new drugs.

The addition, slated to open for students in the fall of 2010, also will include such environmentally friendly features as energy-efficient lights and heat recovery air landing systems.

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