PHARMACY

Vertex agrees to convert notes to common stock

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Bondholders in a biotech company that develops drugs for such serious diseases as viral infections, cancer and cystic fibrosis have agreed to convert their notes to common stock.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that holders of its 4.75% convertible senior subordinated notes, which will mature in 2013, have agreed to exchange about $40.2 million worth of them for 1.9 million shares of Vertex’s common stock. Several bondholders had already agreed to exchange their notes, bringing the total amount of notes to be exchanged to $143.5 million.

The company said it expects the additional note exchanges to be finished by Thursday, reducing the principal amount of the notes to $144 million and leaving 180 million shares of common stock outstanding.

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Target gives award to RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA Target has named RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions a recipient of its 2008 “Partner Award of Excellence.” The award was recently presented to RelayHealth at the National Council for Prescription Drug Program’s Annual Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Target annually recognizes vendor partners for their extraordinary passion for performance and dedication to the Target brand. RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions earned the award by demonstrating innovative leadership, superior business practices and commitment to Target’s core strategies: differentiation, value and reliability. 

Notable areas of excellence were RelayHealth’s operational responsiveness and collaborative partnership in creating new services.

“We are proud to partner with [Target] to bring innovative solutions that enhance their operations and clinical services for their valued pharmacy patrons,” said Jeff Felton, president, RelayHealth Pharmacy Solutions. “This award is truly a tribute to the dedication of our entire team and recognizes our long-standing relationship.”

RelayHealth helps improve clinical and financial information management, patient safety and business performance. RelayHealth also provides network and claims processing connectivity services that add value and efficiency to more than 90% of the nation’s retail pharmacies.

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Vivus presents results of glucose-lowering investigational drug

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW ORLEANS An investigational drug for treating lowered blood sugar levels in obese patients who had not developed diabetes, according to results of a phase 3 trial presented Saturday at the American Diabetes Association’s 69th annual scientific sessions.

Drug maker Vivus said the trial of the drug Qnexa showed that while Qnexa lowered blood sugar, patients taking placebo experienced higher blood sugar after 28 weeks of treatment.

“Obesity is the leading cause of Type 2 diabetes,” lead investigator and Weill-Cornell University clinical professor Louis Aronne said in a statement. “Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes can be treated effectively in most patients with significant weight loss.”

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