PHARMACY

Barr readies finances for acquisition by Teva

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTVALE, N.J. Barr Pharmaceuticals’ unsecured credit facilities will remain in place after Barr’s acquisition by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the two companies announced Monday.

Barr and its syndicate of lending banks, arranged by Bank of America, made the agreement to amend the facilities.

“We are pleased that we have successfully negotiated with Barr’s lenders to maintain these credit facilities, post-closing, under terms and conditions that meet our requirements,” Teva chief financial officer Eyal Desheh said. “The combination of the amended Barr credit facilities, Teva’s available cash on hand and our committed bridge financing will provide us with sufficient funds to complete the acquisition of Barr as well as support the continued growth of our business.”

The amendments will waive lenders’ right to call Barr’s debt upon the acquisition by Teva, thereby allowing Barr’s outstanding obligations under the credit facilities to remain in place following the closing of the acquisition.

The facilities have outstanding balances of about $1.65 billion and $292 million that mature in October 2011 and June 2013, respectively.

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Rheumatoid arthritis drugs don’t affect cancer risk, researchers find

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO Spanish researchers have found that drugs for rheumatoid arthritis called TNF blockers don’t appear to increase the risk of cancer, the researchers announced Saturday.

The drugs block a protein called the tumor necrosis factor, which is part of the immune system and is linked to arthritic inflammation. Some studies have shown that they increase the risk of cancer because they suppress the immune system, but the researchers did not find a statistical difference between the two groups of patients studied.

The research included one group of 4,500 people who took TNF blockers between 2001 and 2007, and another that included data from between 1999 and 2005 from almost 800 people who did not take the drugs.

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FDA approves Barr extended-cycle oral contraceptive

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTVALE, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a Barr Pharmaceuticals subsidiary’s application for a new oral contraceptive, Barr said Monday.

The FDA approved Duramed Pharmaceuticals’ drug LoSeasonique (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol tablets and ethynyl estradiol tablets).

Barr said the drug is the first lower-dose, extended-cycle oral contraceptive. Under the extended-cycle regimen, women take combination tablets containing 0.1 mg of levonorgestrel and 0.02 mg of ethinyl estradiol for 84 consecutive days, followed by tablets containing 0.01 mg of ethinyl estradiol for seven days. The regimen is designed to reduce the number of withdrawal bleeding periods from 13 to four per year.

“As a leader in women’s health, Duramed is committed to continuing to develop new products that provide women a choice as they discuss birth control options with their healthcare providers,” Duramed chief executive officer Fred Wilkinson said.

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