PHARMACY

Merck, Nicholas Piramal sign R&D agreement

BY Drew Buono

MUMBAI, India The drug developing company Nicholas Piramal has signed an agreement with Merck to research and develop new cancer drugs.

Nicholas Piramal will receive milestone payments of as much as $175 million on each of the two selected targets provided by Merck, as well as sales royalties on any products that may result from the collaboration. Merck will have the option to conduct late-stage clinical trials and commercialize the drugs. Nicholas Piramal will be responsible for carrying out an integrated drug-discovery program followed by non-clinical and clinical studies.

“Merck is excited to collaborate with a company with the discovery and development capabilities of NPIL,” said Merv Turner, senior vice president of worldwide licensing and external research at Merck. “This agreement furthers our strategy of building global alliances that expand and advance Merck’s pipeline, especially in countries such as India with rapidly expanding drug discovery competencies.”

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Celgene to acquire Pharmion for $72/share

BY Drew Buono

SUMMIT, N.J. Celgene and Pharmion have announced a merger agreement, under which Celgene has agreed to acquire Pharmion. Celgene will acquire all of Pharmion’s outstanding shares of common stock for $72 per share payable in cash and share of Celgene common stock.

Under the agreement, Celgene will acquire the rights to three popular Pharmion oncology drugs: Revlimid, Thalomid, and Vidaza. Thalmoid and Revlimid are used to treat patients with multiple myeloma. Vidaza is used to treat myelodysplastic syndromes.

“The acquisition of Pharmion is an exceptional strategic fit that will expand our role as a leader in hematology and oncology,” said Sol Barer, chairman and chief executive officer of Celgene Corporation. “Our combined global infrastructure will leverage the therapeutic and commercial potential of Pharmion’s products, particularly Vidaza, which has the potential to become a major global therapy. By bringing together the talents and resources of both companies, we move closer to our vision of becoming a leading hematology and oncology company in the world, expanding our industry leading programs for safety, access and patient support.”

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RxHub introduces Rx 4 Success e-prescribing program

BY Drew Buono

ST. PAUL, Minn. RxHub, a company that keeps track of patient-specific medication history and pharmacy benefit information, has announced a new product for e-prescribing, the Rx 4 Success.

The new program was developed to target four main areas of e-prescribing: utilization of Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services approved ePrescribing transactions including eligibility, formulary and benefits, and medication history. The program will also integrate true electronic delivery of prescriptions to retail and mail order pharmacies. It will also keep consistent rules-based applications of clinical decision support content and formulate transactional data to support the development of outcomes based on pay-for-performance programs.

“We are extremely proud to be associated with our growing roster of partners which includes many of the healthcare industry’s foremost technology innovators,” stated Doug Johnson, vice president of business development for technology partners at RxHub. “Their collective vision not only helped shape Rx 4 Success but provides the foundation for ongoing market driven performance analysis and improvement.”

Rx 4 Success will become a participation requirement for technology partners connected to the RxHub network as of July 31, 2008.

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