PHARMACY

Jazz seizure drug receives FDA orphan status

BY Drew Buono

PALO ALTO, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration has granted orphan drug status to Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ new drug candidate, JZP-8, which is used to treat recurrent acute repetitive seizures. The drug is designed to be a fast-acting intranasal spray for the treatment of recurrent acute repetitive seizures in patients with epilepsy.

ARS, also called seizure clusters, occurs in a small subset of patients with epilepsy who regularly experience breakthrough seizures in flurries or clusters despite treatment with a regimen of anti-epileptic drugs. ARS is a rare disorder, with an estimated prevalence in the U.S. of approximately 90,000 to 180,000 people.

In December 2007, Jazz Pharmaceuticals dosed the first patient in a Phase II clinical trial of JZP-8. “JZP-8 is one of the first development product candidates from our internal product identification and development program to enter Phase II,” said Samuel R. Saks, chief executive officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

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Pfizer eyes other large pharmaceutical companies for acquisitions

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer’s CEO said his company wants to expand its portfolio of acquired companies, and no company is too big, according to published reports.

Jeff Kindler told the Financial Times that the drug maker would consider purchasing a large stake in a major pharmaceutical company to increase its revenues. Some have speculated that this could mean a purchase of Amgen or Gilead Sciences or a merger with a larger company such as Bristol-Myers Squibb or Wyeth.

The company’s profits are in danger of falling in 2011, when the blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium) becomes open to generic competition. The drug has annual sales of about $13 billion.

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Escalon acquires Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings’ hematology division

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA A Philadelphia-area company that makes medical and diagnostic equipment has acquired a British in vitro diagnostics company’s hematology division.

Escalon Medical Corp., based in Wayne, Pa., acquired Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings’ hematology for $5.9 million Friday, according to published reports.

Neither company had posted a statement about the deal for the press on its Web site Monday.

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