PHARMACY

Vanda’s insomnia drug works, but not enough

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Vanda Pharmaceuticals had to take back a statement released Thursday that the insomnia drug tasimelteon improved sleep; the company saw a 15 percent fall in share price following the news of the retraction.

Trials showed tasimelteon to improve sleep during the first eight nights, but by the 29th night, the benefit compared to placebo had no statistical significance, and patients using the drug didn’t stay asleep any longer than patients in the placebo group.

As of early Friday afternoon, the Thursday press release announcing that tasimelteon significantly improved sleep remained on the Rockville, Md.-based company’s Web site.

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Study: pharmacist monitoring can help hypertension

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE An experiment by the Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative has found that Web-based monitoring by pharmacists can help control hypertension.

It found that 56 percent of patients assigned home blood pressure monitoring, Web site training and Web-based pharmacist care experienced increases in control of blood pressure. Those who received the blood pressure monitoring and Web site training only did not experience a significant increase.

The study involved 778 patients ages 25 to 75 in three groups with uncontrolled essential hypertension and Internet access between June 2005 and December 2007.

Results of the study appeared in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Genzyme, Isis complete license agreement for cholesterol drug

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Genzyme and Isis Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that they had finished a license and collaboration agreement for mipomersen, a drug candidate designed for patients with high cholesterol.

Under the agreement, Genzyme will pay Isis $175 million in licensing fees. Isis will contribute up to $175 million for development. After that, the two companies will share development costs. Isis may also receive up to $1.5 billion in commercial, development and regulatory milestone payments. Genzyme will have preferred access to future drugs that Isis develops for rare diseases and diseases affecting the central nervous system.

The companies will share profits for the drug, with Genzyme receiving 70 percent and Isis receiving 30 percent. They will split profits equally once revenues on mipomersen reach $2 billion. Genzyme will also be responsible for funding sales and marketing until revenues can cover them.

“Mipomersen is an innovative treatment that has the potential to change the standard of care for severely ill patients whose needs cannot be addressed by current cholesterol-lowering therapies,” said Henri A. Termeer, Genzyme’s chairman and chief executive officer.

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