Friday, August 1, 2014
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POSTED: Thursday, June 26, 2014, 4:36 PM
Chesterbrook-based Auxilium Pharmaceuticals said Thursday it would merge with Canadian biotech company QLT, in a $345 million stock deal designed to avoid paying higher U.S. corporate tax rates.

The New Auxilium will be registered in Canada, but much of the organization will continue operating from Chesterbrook.

The Auxilium statement says, in part:

POSTED: Thursday, June 26, 2014, 2:31 PM
Mail order medicine is old news. But big pharma's attempts to squeeze every last nickel out of its top selling drugs now includes home delivery of a different sort, and  AstraZeneca will host a Twitter Chat at 7 p.m., Thursday (tonight) from @AstraZenecaUS to discuss its program. The hashtag is #AZDirect.

Two AstraZeneca executives are scheduled to answer questions about the company's program: Linda Palczuk, a VP for Cornerstone and Commercial Excellence, and Rick R. Suarez, an executive director, GI and Foundation Brands. Through the program called AstraZeneca Direct, the company - via pharmacies and pharmacists, it says - is selling Arimidex and Nexium.

AstraZeneca, which recently fought off a takeover bid by Pfizer, is headquartered in London, but has operations in Wilmington and Newark, Del.

POSTED: Thursday, June 26, 2014, 1:47 PM
Pa. Bio President and CEO Chris Molineaux
Life sciences companies are like most other organizations and people: They like government when it does things for them and they dislike government when it does not - or taxes them to pay for roads, schools and the rest.

Pennsylvania Bio, the state trade association for the life sciences, is a bit worried about the budget negotiations in Harrisburg, so president and CEO Chris Molineaux called for reinforcements Thursday.

In an email to members, Molineaux urged PA Bio members to contact their favorite legislators to keep their favorite tax breaks in place. The 609 members in the PA Bio directory include pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies, but also organizations and companies connected to them, such as insurers, banks and patient advocacy groups. The PA Bio website is here.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 2:19 PM
Richard Gonzalez, CEO of AbbVie Inc., rings the opening bell Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange. (Ben Hider, 2012 NYSE Euronext)
AbbVie chief executive officer Richard Gonzalez told financial analysts Wednesday that his company's $46.5 billion offer for Shire, Plc., is "compelling," and he declined to rule out going hostile in its takeover attempt, Bloomberg News reported. A link to the Bloomberg story is here.

Shire's appeal is that it is incorporated in Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, and domiciled in Ireland, all of which means lower corporate taxes that AbbVie faces in the United States. AbbVie's headquarters is near Chicago. Shire has facilities in Wayne and Exton.

Meanwhile, Shire repeated Wednesday its earlier assessment that the offer under value's Shire's current and future value.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 8:58 AM
In this Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 photo, Merck scientist Meizhen Feng conducts research to discover new HIV drugs in West Point, Pa. Merck reports quarterly earnings on Tuesday, July 30, 3013. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Merck's efforts to re-organize and re-energize itself to boost production of profitable medicine has included more licensing deals with smaller companies.

Tuesday brought another deal with Bionomics, an Australian company that has worked with Merck previously and will now work on the hunt for medicine for Alzheimer's disease.

According to the Bionomics, and as noted in the Pharma Letter, Merck will pay for all research and development, including clinical development, and will be responsible for worldwide commercialization of any products from the collaboration.

POSTED: Monday, June 23, 2014, 9:52 AM
Adderall is among the ADHD medicines made by Shire.

Drugmaker Shire Plc., which is trying to fend off a $46.5 billion takeover offer from AbbVie, told investment analysts in a Monday conference call that it hopes to double its revenue by 2020.

Shire is based in Ireland, but has operations in Wayne and Exton.

The Irish base is at least part of the reason that Shire is being pursued by AbbVie. Companies, especially in healthcare, have been scrambling of late to buy other companies so they can re-register in Ireland, which has lower corporate tax rates than the United States. Relatively few employees move to Ireland in such acquisitions. In the language of accounting, this is called tax inversion.

POSTED: Friday, June 20, 2014, 6:37 AM
Shire P.L.C. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)
Drugmaker Shire, Plc., which is based in Ireland but has operations in Exton and Wayne, said Friday that its board has rejected a $46.5 billion takeover offer from AbbVie.

AbbVie, like some other pharmaceutical companies, is looking for a takeover target that would allow it to shift its official residence to Ireland, which has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States.

AbbVie is the drug portion of the recently-separated company that used to be Abbott Laboratories, and its headquarters is in North Chicago, Ill.



POSTED: Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 8:57 AM
Gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. (AP Photo, File)
Georgia and Missouri resumed capital punishment Tuesday and Wednesday, using lethal injections of drugs, and Florida is scheduled join the pack Wednesday evening.

Big or mid-size drug companies have seen the public relations problem of saying they are all about health (and profits) when their drugs are being injected into inmates - however horrible their crimes might have been - for the sake of killing them. The other problem is that most drugmakers can't - or choose not to - track their drugs all the way from factory to patient.

Hospira was one of the last U.S.-based companies with a direct connection to products used in the usual three-drug cocktail, but it put restrictions in place, it said in a statement (link here).

About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at dsell@phillynews.com.

David Sell
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