Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, September 12, 2013, 9:40 AM

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceutical subsidiary said Wednesday that it was recalling one lot of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal Consta.

A link to the recall notice in PDF format is here and gets a brief link on the product web site, which is deep within the Janssen web site.

Janssen's statement says the recall was issued "because the product did not meet our standards."

POSTED: Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 9:19 AM
Pfizer CEO Ian Read

NEW YORK - Pharmaceutical companies have an image problem. They now say they care more about it.

Pfizer collects more money from prescription drugs than any other company on the planet, with 2012 total revenue of $59 billion and net income of $14.6 billion. Finances are part of the dilemma the drugmaker tried to address Tuesday when it invited reporters to its headquarters here to listen to company leaders discuss improvements to research and development of vaccines. Such vaccines can save lives and prevent horrible diseases that can cripple children and ravage societies.

"Frankly, what we do, we believe, is important to society," Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Ian Read said in his opening remarks.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 9:44 AM
Dawn Pride, of West Philadelphia, holds up her Advair inhaler that help her with chronic asthma. (David M Warren / Staff Photographer)

GlaxoSmithKline's top-selling drug by far is the asthma medication Advair, which accounts for about 20 percent of company revenue. Generic competition got a bit closer to reality on Monday.

Advair is delivered to patients through an inhaler. Besides any existing patents, brand-name drug companies like GSK have hoped that the combination of drug and device would delay U.S. Food and Drug Administration issuance of guidelines for generic manufacturers who hope to make equivalent products.

The FDA issued such guidance on Monday, though the guidance is not final. A link to the technical document is here.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 9:31 AM
Inovio Pharmeceuticals' corporate logo.

Blue Bell-based start up Inovio Pharmaceuticals signed a partnership deal with Swiss-based drugmaker Roche that pays $10 million up front but could yield as much as $412 million if Inovio's prostate cancer and hepatitis B immunotherapy products pan out.

Revenue from the sale of drugs derived from the compounds - an innovative process is also part of the deal - are a long way off. The testing completed has only been on animals.

Roche, which is based in Basel and has operations in New Jersey, will provide research and development support to Inovio. The potentially big payout down the road depends on drugs meeting clinical and then sales milestones.

POSTED: Monday, September 9, 2013, 7:54 AM

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said Monday that it had agreed to sell its nutritional drink brands Lucozade and Ribena to Japan-based Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd, for $2.1 billion.

GSK, which is based in London and has operations in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, said in February that it would look for a buyer for the drink brands because it wanted to focus more on its pharmaceutical products. GSK will use the cash to reduce debt.

“Lucozade and Ribena are iconic brands that have made a huge contribution to GSK over the years, but now is the right time to sell them as we increase the focus of our Consumer Healthcare business and execute the delivery of our late stage pipeline of pharmaceuticals and vaccines," David Redfern, GSK's chief strategy officer, said in a statement. "We believe the future of Lucozade and Ribena is in good hands given SBF’s established beverages business, ambitious growth plans and also their recognition of the strong performance and capability of the GSK employees working on these products.”

POSTED: Monday, September 9, 2013, 7:38 AM

Teleflex Inc. was founded in 1943 with a single product - a cable contraption that allowed World War II pilots in Spitfire fighter planes to adjust their radios, even though the radio was behind the cockpit and out of arm's reach. The flexible cable was extended and retracted telescopically, from which the company name was born.

Seventy years later, Teleflex is still headquartered in Pennsylvania - though that will move early in 2014 from Limerick to Wayne - and it still makes strands that help reach into hard-to-reach places. But that's about where the similarity ends, as demonstrated in a modern, global way Thursday.

The company broadcast a live webcast/webinar from the operating room of a hospital in the Netherlands. One of the company's newer catheters - the Rusch EZ-Blocker Endobronchial Blocker - was threaded into the lung of a patient during cardiothoracic surgery. On Friday the patient was recovering normally, the company said.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 8:42 AM

In the wake of the $130 billion swap of stock, cash and other considerations between Verizon and Vodafone, the Associated Press, with help from the research firm Dealogic, updated the list of the biggest corporate acquisitions in history and two pharmaceutical deals remain in the top 10.

Mobile phone giant Verizon is buying out Vodafone, which held 45 percent of Verizon. That transaction would be second on the big-money list.

My former Inquirer colleague Mike Armstrong disliked the term merger because almost always one company is taking over another, with somebody or a lot of somebodies, exiting the company that is purchased. Perhaps they exited richer, but they exited either way.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 9:15 AM
Tony Zook, former executive at AstraZeneca, serves on the Frostburg State board of trustees

Tony Zook, who was part of the leadership at AstraZeneca until earlier this year, resigned for health reasons from his post as chief executive officer of California drugmaker Vivus, Inc.

Zook, who has a degree in chemical engineering from from Penn State and has served on the board of the Pennsylvania Division of the American Cancer Society, said in a statement that unspecified health concerns did not allow him to devote enough time to the job he was named to on July 22.

Zook will be replaced by former Johnson & Johnson executive Seth Fischer, who is the third leader of the company this year. Vivus developed an obesity drug, Qsymia, but did not sell enough of the product to meet the demands of the private equity company holding the most stock, First Manhattan, Co.

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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