Saturday, October 10, 2015

POSTED: Friday, August 7, 2015, 4:32 PM
A mural on the Martin Luther King Center in North Philadelphia is reflected in the glass of Project HOME's Stephen Klein Wellness Center. (David Sell, staff)

Under chief executive Steve Collis, AmerisourceBergen has tried to broaden its business beyond that of an anonymous-but-huge pharmaceutical wholesaler, including a more visible public element that manifested itself in $250,000 to build a pharmacy that opens Saturday at Project HOME's Stephen Klein Wellness Center in North Philadelphia.

Project HOME’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty afflicting many people in the city and affordable healthcare is one element of that.

“Our new pharmacy, made possible through the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, is key in our effort to provide quality healthcare and wellness for the second poorest zip code in Philadelphia,” Sister Mary Scullion, executive director of Project HOME, said in a statement.

POSTED: Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:00 PM
Teva Pharmaceuticals in North Wales. The Israeli company is the world's largest producer of generic drugs. CLEM MURRAY / File photograph

     Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said Monday it agreed to buy 51 percent of a Immuneering, a privately-held company in Cambridge, Mass., which does genomic analysis.

     Neither company disclosed the price of the deal in its statement, which was also filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

     Teva is based in Israel and its Americas headquarters is in North Wales, Montgomery County.

POSTED: Sunday, August 2, 2015, 9:06 PM

Drugmakers Novartis and Australia-based CSL Limited, whose U.S. headquarters is in King of Prussia, said Sunday night they have completed a $275 million deal, under which CSL gets Novartis' flu vaccine business.

In April 2014, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline announced a three-pronged multibillion dollar deal, part of which involved Novartis sending its vaccine unit to GSK. The only vaccine not part of the deal was flu because GSK already had a flu vaccine and antitrust regulators would have been unhappy.

The CSL-Novartis deal was announced in October 2014. By completing the deal earlier than the original estimated closing date of Dec. 31, CSL can make money from the fall-winter flu season in the northern hemisphere. Novartis had $527 million in flu vaccine sales in 2013.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 9:10 AM
File: Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. ( SHARON GEKOSKI-KIMMEL / Staff Photographer )

Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of the department of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, is not afraid of delivering difficult news.

Speaking to biotech and health executives at an invitation-only event Monday in Philadelphia, he said he was invited as a counter balance to other speakers, whom he described as "techno utopians," people who are gung-ho on medical technology and are less vocal on the costs to the entire health care system.

The event was the Klick Ideas Exchange, sponsored by Klick Health, a digital marketing agency. Veeva Systems and the Biotechnology Industry Organization were also sponsors. BIO, the Washington-based trade association, is holding its annual convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center this week, attracting 15,000 people.

POSTED: Monday, June 15, 2015, 10:39 AM
The signage for the GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013. (Reuters)

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is based in London and has big operations around Philadelphia, but it is expanding its search for new drugs to finding and creating start ups in the San Diego area.

Last year, GSK opened an office in San Diego. On Monday, at the start of the BIO International 2015 convention at the Philadelphia Convention Center, it joined Avalon Ventures in forming three new companies that will operate from a fourth company's location in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla. The fourth company, COI Pharmaceuticals, was only formed in late 2013 and the COI stands for "Community of Innovation." 

Avalon and GSK formed a partnership in April 2013.

POSTED: Monday, June 15, 2015, 9:12 AM
Matt Wallach, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, is president and co-founder of the cloud-based computer software company Veeva, which sells products to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. (Veeva Systems, Inc.)

     Veeva Systems Inc. serves as an example of Silicon Valley meeting the Delaware Valley, with new technology and venture capital meeting the decades-old business of making medicine and selling pills.

     "Peter is a Silicon Valley technology guy and he runs products out of California and I'm a Philly guy with a pharma background," Veeva president and co-founder Matt Wallach said the other day, referring to fellow co-founder and chief executive officer Peter Gassner. "And we never met until started the company."

     Veeva makes and sells cloud-based computer software to life sciences, pharmaceutical and biotech companies. About 15,000 of people from those types of companies will be in Philadelphia this week for BIO International 2015, the annual convention put on by the Washington-based biotech trade association.

POSTED: Monday, June 15, 2015, 8:45 AM
Renold Capocasale , CEO of FlowMetric, stands beside a mobile lab that does computerized laboratory work to distinguish good cells from diseased cells in the body.

    Renold Capocasale and his team at FlowMetric and FlowMetric Diagnostics will show off their new, patented mobile flow cytometry unit Tuesday at BIO International 2015 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

     Capocasale is the CEO of FlowMetric, which had its fifth birthday in March, while the diagnostic unit is newer.

     The biotech industry is almost, by nature, turbulent, with companies scrambling to find funding and produce a drug worthy of putting in patients - or being bought by a larger pharmaceutical company. Big and medium pharmaceutical companies have been downsizing or shedding divisions while adding others, all in the pursuit of profits.

POSTED: Friday, June 12, 2015, 8:06 PM
Bill Clinton speaks during a fundraiser for Marjorie Margolies at the Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel in April 2014. ( RON TARVER / Staff Photographer )

Former President Bill Clinton will talk about the future of health care Monday in Philadelphia at an invitation-only gathering of about 200 life sciences executives, policy makers and academic experts.

The Klick Ideas Exchange, sponsored by Klick Health, will be held  at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

The event is separate from the BIO International 2015 conference that also begins Monday in Philadelphia, though BIO officials are participating in the Klick program.

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

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

Reach David at or 215-854-4506.

David Sell Inquirer Staff Writer
Also on
letter icon Newsletter