David SellFormer Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler might testify for the plaintiff in coming days in a lawsuit against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson that is being heard in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Contrary to several media reports, this is not the first trial of a case involving the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, which was approved more than a decade ago for schizophrenia. J&J has been accused of promoting the drug for unapproved uses in a many jurisdictions and, in a federal case, eventually agreed pay a $2.2 billion penalty. J&J's pharmaceutical division, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is the maker of Risperdal.
Philadelphia attorney Stephen Sheller has been fighting for a decade for plaintiffs, who claimed harmful effects from antipsychotic drugs, and for whistleblowers, who alleged that drug companies reaped profits for inappropriate sales and sales tactics.
David SellMerck & Co., posted a WARN notice that it will lay off 172 people from its information technology unit at its Branchburg facility in North Jersey. The job cuts are effective March 16.
Though it still hires for some positions in some places, the drugmaker announced in October 2013 that it planned major job cuts and consolidation of facilities by the end of 2015. This move is part of that process, according a Merck spokeswoman.
Merck, which has big operations in Upper Gwynedd and West Point, Montgomery County, has vacated its Whitehouse Station facility and moved its headquarters to Kenilworth. Both of those towns are in North Jersey.
David SellThe University City Science Center's QED Proof-of-Concept program said this week it will help fund researchers developing technologies for high-speed eye exams, cancer treatment, stem cell growth and healthcare sanitation.
The total of $650,000 in funding is part of a program started in 2009 to help novel university technologies with market potential, according to a center statement. The Science Center and the schools of the winners will each contribute half of the money. The four were chosen from a pool of 68 applicants and nine universities in the Philadelphia region.
The QED grants went to researchers at Lehigh University, Rutgers, Temple University and Thomas Jefferson University. The Science Center also has business advisors who might lend a hand. This is the seventh round of funding and 24 previously-funded QED projects amounted to $14.8 million in follow-on funding and led to six licensed technologies, according to the Science Center.
David SellIn Tuesday night's State of the Union speech, President Obama said he hoped that American technological knowledge would lead to greater use of precision medicine to cure health problems.
"Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science and technology, research and development," Obama said. "I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine - one that delivers the right treatment at the right time.
"In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. So tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier. We can do this." A link to the White House website related to the speech is here.
David SellBristol-Myers Squibb, which is based in New York and has a big operation in Princeton, changed leadership Tuesday, with Lamberto Andreotti becoming chairman of the board and Dr. Giovanni Caforio moving into the role of chief executive officer as of May 5.
“I also want to express my excitement that Giovanni has been appointed to succeed me as CEO,” Andreotti said in a statement. “I have a high level of confidence in Giovanni that is shared by everyone who has seen him consistently and successfully drive performance. He has an unmatched breadth and depth of experience. From his start in a medical role to his experience as a general manager to his roles as chief commercial officer and chief operating officer, Giovanni has demonstrated a unique ability to work across the organization to bring innovative medicines to patients.”
BMS is in the thick of the hunt in the relatively new area of immunotherapy, which aims to fight cancer by unlocking the proteins in cells that help the body fight cancer itself.
David SellThe chief executive officer of CVS Health, Larry J. Merlo, was among those invited to sit in gallery box with First Lady Michelle Obama for Tuesday night's State of the Union speech in the House of Representatives in Washington.
CVS Health, which has the second-largest pharmacy benefit management operation in the country, is most known by consumers for its 7,800 retail pharmacies. The invitation stems from CVS announcing last year that would stop selling cigarettes at those stores.
The blurb from the White House statement is below and more information on the speech and other invited guests can be found at whitehouse.gov/sotu.
The Supreme Court sided with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., Tuesday in a patent dispute that hinged as much on common procedures for federal court appeals as it did on patent laws related to generic drugs. Both sides of the dispute have Pennsylvania and New Jersey operations.
The Associated Press story is below:Sam Hananel
David SellHealthcare giant Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that its revenue rose 4.2 percent and its profit soared 18 percent for all of 2014.
J&J released financial results for the year and the fourth quarter, both of which ended Dec. 31. The company said it had sales of $74.331 billion in 2014 compared to $71.312 billion in all of 2013. The full-year profit increased from $13.831 billion in 2013 to $16.323 billion in 2014.
The fourth quarter was more challenging for the company. Quarterly sales declined .6 percent and the profit fell 28.4 percent.