PHARMACY

Ventana again responds in the negative to Roche’s tender

BY Allison Cerra

TUSCON, Ariz. Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., the global leader in tissue-based cancer diagnostics, issued a statement that it again refused Roche’s hostile bid, the company said Thursday.

“This is now the third time that Roche has extended its offer, one which we have previously said is grossly inadequate and one that substantially all of our investors have rejected repeatedly,” the company wrote. “The 63,541 shares tendered to Roche represent only 0.187% of Ventana’s approximately 34 million outstanding shares. Ventana is worth significantly more than Roche is offering.”

Two weeks ago, Roche’s chief executive officer and chairman Franz Humer said he would not be raising the bid until the company agreed to negotiate.

Since June, Ventana has warned stockholders to not sell its shares to Roche, and has even attempted to block the buyout.

During Friday morning trading, shares of Ventana were $84.84. 

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PHARMACY

CIGNA debuts online Rx pricing guide for patients

BY Jim Frederick

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. Big insurance and pharmacy benefits management company CIGNA HealthCare has launched an updated version of its online Prescription Drug Price Quote tool for its health and PBM plan members as a price-comparison guide.

The web-based guide is available on the My Plans—Pharmacy page at www.mycigna.com. It offers Cigna Pharmacy members real-time, plan-specific cost comparisons for generic, brand name and available therapeutic alternative medications at 57,000 U.S. pharmacies, according to the health plan giant.

“Rather than relying on national average or regional discount information on retail pharmacy prices, the tool displays side-by-side comparisons of exactly what members would pay for brand named medications, available generics and low cost therapeutic options…based on their benefit plan, as well as the total cost of each medication,” Cigna noted in a statement.

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Rexahn receives patent for Zoraxel

BY Drew Buono

ROCKVILLE, Md. Rexahn Pharmaceuticals has received a U.S. Patent for the treatment of sexual dysfunction with its leading drug candidate RX-10100 IR, also known as Zoraxel.

Zoraxel is a drug that enhances neurotransmitters in the brain, both of which play key roles in sexual motivation, erection, and release. This would be the first drug to effect all three phases of sexual activity.

Commenting on today’s news, Chang H. Ahn, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, noted, “This latest patent coverage for Zoraxel significantly strengthens our patent estate. When added to the four CNS-related U.S. patents and two anti-cancer patents already secured, this represents another key milestone for the Company as we move forward with the clinical development for this promising new drug.”

The company plans to initiate a Phase II trial for Zoraxel by the end of this year.

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