PHARMACY

Banking veteran to lead Surescripts

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Electronic prescribing platform provider Surescripts announced that Harry Totonis, an executive with extensive experience in information services and a track record of running successful network-based businesses, has been named president and CEO, effective immediately.

He replaces two executives who served as co-CEOs of the company since the merger of SureScripts and RxHub last year, Rick Ratliff and J.P. Little.

Both Ratliff and Little said they are planning to stay with the company in unspecified roles.

Totonis last served as head of Advisors Services at MasterCard, the professional and information services arm of MasterCard Worldwide. In that post, he expanded MasterCard into decision analytics and information-based products, according to Surescripts. He also was responsible for a global team that spanned business development and sales, product innovation, technology development and customer delivery.

Prior to his last post, Totonis served for 14 years with consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton in several positions, including managing partner of the firm’s global banking and insurance practice and as a member of the firm’s executive leadership team. He helped develop marketing strategy for clients including Visa International, American Express, IBM and JPMorgan Chase.

As CEO of Kinexus, Totonis led the development and growth of a private banking network that enabled banks to share information and deliver financial advice to their customers.

Totonis indicated his experience at those firms would serve Surescripts well.

“By replacing cash with more efficient electronic payment vehicles, credit card networks drive benefits to banks, retailers and consumers,” he said. “By replacing paper prescriptions and the manual sharing of prescription history, eligibility and formulary information, the Surescripts network benefits thousands of physicians, pharmacies, payers, hospitals and patients…every day.

“I am excited about Surescripts’ position in helping to re-define health care for our country,” Totonis added.

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Pharmaxis announces completion of phase 3 trial for CF drug

BY Alaric DeArment

SYDNEY, Australia An Australian company announced Tuesday that it had finished the first part of an international phase 3 trial of a drug for cystic fibrosis.

Pharmaxis said the final patient in the trial of the inhaled drug Bronchitol (mannitol) had finished a final clinical visit, and the trial was running on time and on budget. Results of the trial are expected to be available later this month.

“We are very pleased to announce this major milestone for Pharmaxis and look forward to the results of the study with great interest,” Pharmaxis CEO Alan Robertson said. “It is hoped that Bronchitol will change the therapeutic landscape for people living with cystic fibrosis and provide a new therapeutic regimen that helps to prolong life.”

A second phase 3 clinical trial is recruiting in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Belgium and France, Pharmaxis said. The Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency have given Bronchitol orphan drug designation due to the lack of effective treatments for cystic fibrosis.

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Court finds that Watson’s ADHD drug patent is valid

BY Alaric DeArment

CORONA, Calif. The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware ruled Monday that Watson Pharmaceuticals’ generic version of an ADHD drug does not infringe the branded drug maker’s patent.

Watson announced the court ruling Tuesday, saying judge Joseph Farnan found that the ‘373 patent for Concerta (methylphenidate hydrochloride extended-release tablets), by ALZA Corp. and McNeil-PPC, is invalid. The ruling applies to Watson’s versions of Concerta in the 18 mg, 27 mg, 36 mg and 54 mg strengths.

“We are very pleased that the court has ruled in our favor, and we will continue to evaluate the court’s opinion as we contemplate next steps,” Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. “We are currently pursuing final FDA approval of this important product.”

The two branded companies originally sued Andrx Corp. in 2005 over the drug; Watson acquired Andrx the next year.

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