Please forgive the silence of the past few hours. We encountered all manner of technical difficulties, the least of which is a somewhat mangled lap top. These things happen when you spend all your time with one of these machines. Now, though, the time has come to turn our attention to our short people and their assorted adventures. See you tomorrow...
Yet another disappointment for Pfizer. This time, the drugmaker halted a Phase III study of a drug for advanced melanoma after data showed it was no better than chemotherapy. The news sent its stock down about 2 percent in after-hours trading. At a recent meeting with analysts, Pfizer made a point of saying oncology is a big priority.
PDL BioPharma will pay four top execs close to $1 million in retention bonuses through 2009 as a restructuring gets under way, according to an SEC filing. The PDL board also approved severance benefits for Richard Murray, executive vp and chief scientific officer; Mark McCamish, senior vp and chief medical officer; Andrew Guggenhime, senior vp and chief financial officer; and Jaisim Shah, senior vp of marketing and business affairs. Meanwhile, 600 jobs will be cut.
Roche says its CETP inhibitor - designed to raise HDL - was well tolerated by patients in several mid-stage studies, suggesting the drug may be safer than Pfizer's torcetrapib, which failed over cardiovascular problems. In several small clinical trials, patients did well when taking the pill alone or with a statin and the drug had the same effect on blood pressure as a placebo.
Genzyme plans to expand its manufacturing and research facilities in Ireland, where the government is offering to subsidize a $200 million expansion. The drugmaker plans to hire another 170 people, boosting its Irish work force to more than 600. The expansion involves building a new production line for soft-gel capsules, expand its existing plant for filling medicine vials, and add lab and office space.