PHARMACY

Sun Pharmaceutical subsidiary extends tender offer to Taro

BY Allison Cerra

MUMBAI, India Sun Pharmaceutical announced Friday its subsidiary, Alkaloida, has extended the expiration date of the tender offer for the purchase of all outstanding shares of Taro.

The offer will now expire at on Friday, April 17, unless further extended or earlier terminated.

The tender offer was extended to comply with a continuing order issued by the Supreme Court of Israel, temporarily prohibiting the closing of the offer until the Supreme Court issues a decision on the appeal of the litigation commenced against Alkaloida and its affiliates by Taro and certain of its directors, regarding the applicability of the special tender offer rules under the Israeli Companies Law to the offer.

The Tel-Aviv District Court had previously ruled in favor of Sun that a special tender offer was not required. If the temporary order remains in effect on April 17, 2009, Sun expects to extend the Offer while the temporary order remains outstanding.

The offer was commenced on June 30, 2008 in order to comply with the terms of the Option Agreement between Alkaloida and the controlling shareholders of Taro. Alkaloida exercised its options to acquire shares of Taro from the controlling shareholders on June 25, 2008. The Option Agreement required Alkaloida, promptly after exercising the options, to commence a tender offer at $7.75 per share of Taro held by other shareholders.

The offer had previously been scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m. EST, Friday, April 3. As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on April 2, 2009, 25,617 shares had been tendered and not withdrawn from the offer.

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PHARMACY

Astellas Pharma introduces new formulation of Vaprisol

BY Alaric DeArment

DEERFIELD, Ill. Astellas Pharma US announced this week the introduction of a new formulation of a drug for treating hyponatremia.

The Tokyo-based drug maker introduced Vaprisol (conivaptan hydrochloride injection) Premixed in 5% Dextrose, a new premixed formulation. The Food and Drug Administration originally approved the drug in October.

“It is imperative to promptly address hyponatremia in emergency and hospital settings,” Georgetown University medicine and physiology professor Joseph Verbalis said in a statement. “Vaprisol Premixed in 5% Dextrose is a convenient option for quickly preparing treatment for hyponatremia patients.”

Hyponatremia is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s blood sodium level falls significantly below normal. It is present in about 28% of patients upon admission into acute hospital care, and another 14% acquire it while in acute care. It can result in swelling of the brain, respiratory arrest, catastrophic brain damage and death.

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Diabetes drug makers experience stock jump

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Shares of two large drug makers focused on diabetes increased Wednesday afternoon despite declines in the drug industry as a whole, according to published reports.

The Amex Pharmaceutical Index and Amex Biotechnology Index fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased after a fall earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, however, shares of Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk and San Diego-based drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals increased respectively by 4%, to $49.95, and 3%, to $12.12.

Amylin had released a study earlier in the week showing that a long-acting formulation of the diabetes drug Byetta (exenatide) that has not yet been launched outperformed Merck & Co.’s Januvia (sitagliptin) and Takeda’s Actos (pioglitazone hydrochloride) in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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