HEALTH

Topical BioMedics earns patent for product used to treat fibromyalgia pain

BY Michael Johnsen

RHINEBECK, N.Y. Topical BioMedics on Thursday announced that its Topricin pain relief and healing cream has been awarded a patent as a treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia. A Food and Drug Administration-regulated topical biomedicine, Topricin was introduced by the company in 1994, the company stated.

More than 5 million people suffer from fibromyalgia, with the vast majority of them being women. The condition is characterized by chronic, widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons; multiple “tender points”; fatigue; and sleep disturbances. Other symptoms include numbness and tingling, irritable bowel syndrome, palpitations and tension or migraine headaches. The soft-tissue pain of fibromyalgia is described as deep-aching, radiating, gnawing, shooting or burning, and ranges from mild to severe.

Topricin delivers a combination of homeopathic medicines to relieve pain. “Topricin has been effective in resolving pain for the many women suffering with fibromyalgia, with many reporting they have more energy [and] are staying more active, and [reporting] that [Topricin] has helped to reduce or eliminate their dependency on oral pain medications,” stated Lou Paradise, Topical BioMedics CEO.

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Novartis completes purchase of Alcon stock

BY Michael Johnsen

BASEL, Switzerland Novartis on Thursday announced that it has completed its purchase of Alcon stock from Nestle, resulting in 77% ownership of Alcon. This has been achieved by completing the acquisition of the remaining 52% of Alcon shares owned by Nestle for a total of $28.3 billion.

Alcon strategically complements Novartis’ business portfolio, the Swiss company stated, adding a platform in eye care to its pharmaceutical, generics, vaccines and diagnostics, and consumer health divisions. Alcon realized 2009 annual sales of $6.5 billion, operating income of $2.3 billion and net income of $2 billion.

The eye care sector offers further growth opportunities underpinned by the increasing unmet needs of emerging markets and an aging population. The Alcon and Novartis eye care portfolios address a broad range of these unmet needs, Novartis noted. The companies have complementary pharmaceutical portfolios for diseases in the front and back areas of the eye, as well as strong global brands in lens care.

“We are delighted to become majority owners of Alcon,” stated Joseph Jimenez, Novartis CEO. “Together, both companies can achieve their strategic priorities to deliver against patient needs through innovative and differentiated products.”

With the achievement of the 77% majority ownership, Novartis and Alcon will be able to pursue opportunities with Lucentis, the company noted, utilizing the companies’ complementary field forces around the potential launch of Lucentis for Diabetic Macular Edema. Other opportunities include optimization of lens care manufacturing and research collaborations.

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Black & Decker introduces digital gardening device

BY Alaric DeArment

TOWSON, Md. Tool company Black & Decker has introduced a device that it says is designed to take the guesswork out of gardening.

PlantSmart uses a digital sensor to measure information — such as sunlight, temperature, moisture and soil conditions — about the garden. Users then can upload data to an online account to find information about plants’ needs based on local conditions.

The company plans initially to roll out the device in September on Amazon.com and Target.com, and sell it at retailers nationwide in spring 2011.

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