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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

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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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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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Merck cyber attack may cost insurers $275 million: Verisk’s PCS

Insurers could pay $275 million to cover the insured portion of drugmaker Merck & Co.’s loss from a cyber attack in June 2017, according to a forecast by Verisk Analytics Inc.’s Property Claim Services (PCS) unit.

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White House says rollback of Obamacare must be part of short-term fix

A senior White House aide said U.S. President Donald Trump would demand steps toward repealing Obamacare in any healthcare legislation, comments that cast doubt on the prospects for a short-term bill to shore up insurance markets.

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Imprimis Pharma to take on Allergan’s Restasis with cheaper product

Shares of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals sky-rocketed as much as 91.1 percent after the company said it would offer a cheaper option to Allergan’s dry eye disease medicine Restasis.

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China biotech’s ‘coming out party’ masks long road ahead

Investors are betting on China’s potential to feed the global pharmaceutical pipeline, putting a multi-billion-dollar price tag on a handful of stocks, even as the country struggles to close a huge R&D gap with the West.

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FDA approves Gilead cancer gene therapy

U.S. regulators approved a new therapy for a type of lymphoma, which was developed by Gilead Sciences Inc.’s Kite Pharma.

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Novo Nordisk wins U.S. backing of new diabetes drug

Novo Nordisk will take aim at Eli Lilly in the growing diabetes market after an advisory panel to the U.S. FDA gave the green light to its semaglutide drug.

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Cancer drug prices rising far faster than inflation

The prices of injectable cancer drugs – even older medicines around since the 1990s – are increasing at a rate far higher than inflation, researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Trump backs away from Senate deal on stabilizing Obamacare

President Donald Trump Backed away from a bipartisan deal from two U.S. senators to stabilize Obamacare by restoring subsidies to health insurers, one day after signaling his support for the plan.

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Allergan ruling casts doubt on tribal patent strategy

A U.S. judge’s ruling invalidating Allergan Plc’s patents on its blockbuster $1.5 billion dry-eye medicine Restasis has cast doubt on the company’s novel strategy to enlist a Native American tribe to help shield those patents from challenge by generic drugmakers, legal experts said.

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Johnson & Johnson wins reversal of $72 million verdict over talc cancer risks

Johnson & Johnson won the reversal of a $72 million verdict in favor of the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer they claimed stemmed from her use of the company’s talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder.

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Trump’s drug czar nominee withdraws from consideration

President Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. drug czar withdrew after it become public that he spearheaded a bill that undercut the government’s power to crack down on opioid makers that were flooding the market with the addictive painkillers.

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Amneal, Impax to combine in generics push

Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC is buying peer Impax Laboratories Inc. in an all-stock deal as the company looks to add heft to its generics business.

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New cancer drugs help J&J top profit estimates

Johnson & Johnson reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter 2017 profit and raised its full-year forecast as the company gained from strong sales of its new cancer drugs.

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Chi-Med, AstraZeneca lung cancer drug shrinks resistant tumors

An experimental cancer drug discovered by Hutchison China MediTech demonstrated promising activity in shrinking tumors in lung cancer patients whose disease had worsened following treatment with approved medicines.

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