Juvenile Diabetes Foundation enters four-year research collaboration with Novartis-funded organization
SAN DIEGO The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said Thursday that it has entered into a novel collaborative research agreement with the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation to create a diabetes drug discovery and development platform.
The four-year program is one of the largest and most comprehensive collaborations in the 40 year history of JDRF, a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide and the largest charitable funder and advocate of Type 1 research.
The partnership between JDRF and GNF aims to deliver a succession of drug candidates to the clinic over the next four years. The initial focus will be on pancreatic beta cell regeneration and survival, to restore beta cell function in diabetes. The program builds on current JDRF funding at GNF that has resulted in the discovery of beta cell regeneration drug targets and candidates, and allows for the inclusion of JDRF-funded projects and other discoveries into the program.
Based in San Diego, GNF was founded in 1999. Funded by the Novartis Research Foundation, its mission is to develop and apply innovative technologies to the discovery of new biologic processes and new or improved therapeutics for people. With a team of 550 scientists and associates, it has an impressive track record of success in translational research, and has contributed significantly to Novartis’ pipeline of therapeutic candidates.
“This agreement with GNF opens exciting new avenues for JDRF to speed the translation of basic research into drugs and treatments for Type 1 diabetes,” said Alan J. Lewis, PhD, president and CEO of JDRF. “By creating this highly interactive collaboration with a world class organization with demonstrated expertise in discovering and developing innovative therapeutics for medical needs, we are looking to expand both the targets and the realm of possible treatments that can benefit people living with diabetes.”
Projects within the collaboration will be chosen and managed by a combined review committee of JDRF and GNF representatives, with oversight from a Scientific Advisory Board and JDRF volunteers.
Merck, Schering-Plough settle Vytorin, Zetia suits
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. announced Wednesday that they had resolved class-action lawsuits over the purchase and use of two cholesterol drugs.
The companies announced they would pay $41.5 million in suits over the drugs Vytorin (ezetimibe and simvastatin) and Zetia (ezetimibe) to plaintiffs representing consumers, insurers and other groups.
“These agreements will allow the companies to avoid continuing defense costs and remain focused on discovering, developing and delivering novel medicines and vaccines,” Merck general counsel and EVP Bruce Kuhlik said in a statement.
The companies said the settlement resolves all the 140 suits that seek economic damages related to the purchase of Vytorin — which Merck and Schering-Plough market under a joint venture — and Zetia pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
The lawsuits also made allegations about the safety and efficacy of the drugs based on a clinical trial, though the companies said the settlement is not an admission of liability on that matter or an admission of misconduct or liability in connection with the marketing or sale of the drugs.
“We continue to believe that Vytorin and Zetia, in addition to a healthy diet, can provide important benefits for physicians in helping their patients with high cholesterol reach their cholesterol goals,” Schering-Plough EVP and general counsel Thomas Sabatino said.
CVS Caremark mum about possible Aetna PBM purchase
CHICAGO CVS Caremark’s CFO Dave Rickard is keeping quiet on whether the corporation is interested in buying Aetna’s pharmacy benefit management business.
Acquiring Aetna’s PBM business would give CVS Caremark further expansion in the pharmacy benefits business, though the company is busy integrating retailer Longs Drug Stores, which it bought last October.
Despite being rumored as one of the potential buyers along with Medco Health Solutions, CVS Caremark has not disclosed whether the company will take advantage of the offer.
“We are in a position that if something that was very important strategically came along we could act on it. If that were available and the terms were right and the price was right then I think we’d have to look at it,” said Rickard.