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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

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U.S. insurer Anthem says Obamacare business improving; stock jumps

Anthem Inc. reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings as its Obamacare individual insurance business broke even and forecast a slight 2018 profit for the government plans despite uncertainty about the market’s future.

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HBA: Accelerating Gender Intelligence webinar series

The HBA is pleased to announce a new three-part webinar series, Accelerating Gender Intelligence.

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Amgen’s Kyprolis Meets Goals in Phase III Multiple Myeloma Study

A late-stage study shows that a stronger weekly dose of Amgen’s Kyprolis combined with dexamethasone had a greater progression-free survival benefit than a twice-weekly dose of the drug at the approved dosing level.

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Biogen Throws Another $200 Million at Aducanumab With Amended Deal With Neurimmune

Despite the failures of late-stage Alzheimer’s drugs developed by numerous companies, Biogen appears confident in the future of the company’s amyloid plaque targeting aducanumab. Biogen announced it had increased its profit potential on the drug by forking over an additional $150 million to Neurimmune Holding AG, the company from which Biogen licensed the drug. Biogen has an option to pay Neurimmune another $50 million to drop royalties by another 5 percent.

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Alexion Wins Expanded Approval for Soliris

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the approval for Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s blood-disorder drug and blockbuster medicine Soliris.

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Gilead Shows Off Mid-Stage NASH Data

Gilead Sciences released results from a Phase II clinical trial of GS-0976 for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

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AbbVie bets on Alzheimer’s immunotherapy with big biotech deal

U.S. drugmaker AbbVie is betting on the potential of the body’s immune system to fight Alzheimer’s via a drug development deal worth more than $200 million with unlisted biotech company Alector.

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NeuroPace raises $74 million to market seizure-monitoring device

NeuroPace Inc. raised $74 million in equity funding as the medical device maker looks to rapidly expand commercialization of its device to treat epileptic seizures.

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FDA warns Meridian of violations for lead-testing devices

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Meridian Bioscience Inc.’s unit for several federal law violations after inspecting its facility that makes lead-testing devices.

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GSK wins U.S. shingles vaccine approval

GlaxoSmithKline won U.S. approval for a new and improved shingles vaccine, the second of three key products the drugmaker expects approval for in 2017.

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Novartis gets FDA breakthrough status for Tafinlar, Mekinist combination

Novartis said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted breakthrough therapy status to the combination of Tafinlar and Mekinist to treat patients with BRAF V600-positive stage III melanoma following surgery.

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AstraZeneca among backers as Swiss cancer biotech raises $200 million

An unlisted Swiss biotech company focused on developing “armed antibodies” to fight cancer has raised $200 million in a funding round backed by AstraZeneca and other private backers.

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DBV Allergy Drug Flunked Phase III Test

DBV Technologies’ Phase III peanut allergy trial failed to show a statistically significant response against placebo.

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Bay Area’s Global Blood Therapeutics Terminates Lung Disease Program

Global Blood Therapeutics announced the shuttering of its GBT440 program to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). However, the company will continue investigating the drug in sickle cell disease.

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Merck to Cut 1,800 Jobs and Add 960 in Chronic Care

As part of a new sales team structure, Merck plans to cut 1,800 sales jobs. At the same time, the company expects to add 960 jobs to a new sales force focused on chronic care.

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DURECT Pain Med Fails Phase III

DURECT Corporation announced that its Posimir (SABER – Bupivacaine) for post-surgical pain failed a Phase III clinical trial.

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Celgene Ends Two Phase III Trials

Celgene is scrapping a late-stage Crohn’s disease drug it acquired in a $710 million deal three years ago following an interim data analysis.

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FDA teams with medical companies in Puerto Rico to tackle shortages

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the agency was working with several pharmaceutical and medical device companies in Puerto Rico to prevent shortages of medical products in the United States as it joins a massive effort to help rebuild the island that was ravaged by Hurricane Maria.

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Pharmacist’s ‘deadly’ choices sparked U.S. meningitis outbreak: prosecutors

A federal prosecutor told jurors that a Massachusetts pharmacist gambled with patients’ lives by making drugs in unsafe ways that led to a deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak, but a defense lawyer said he was not a murderer.

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Short on staff: Nursing crisis strains U.S. hospitals

Hospitals nationwide face tough choices when it comes to filling nursing jobs. They are paying billions of dollars collectively to recruit and retain nurses rather than risk patient safety or closing down departments, according to Reuters interviews with more than 20 hospitals, including some of the largest U.S. chains.

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