Sunday, February 14, 2016

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 12:22 PM
Officials for drug maker Auxilium ring the opening bell on June 25, 2012. (Photo from

Chesterbrook-based drugmaker Auxilium Pharmaceuticals responded Wednesday to the unsolicited takeover offer from Endo International, P.L.C., by saying it will look at the offer — as required by financial regulations — but also by instituting a poison pill stock dividend plan to ward off Endo.

Endo valued the cash-and-stock offer at $28.10 per share, or $2.2 billion in total, but it did not specify how much was stock and how much was cash.

Endo chief executive officer Rajiv De Silva sent the takeover letter to Auxilium CEO Adrian Adams Friday night and then went public with the offer after the stock market closed in New York on Tuesday.

POSTED: Thursday, September 4, 2014, 3:50 PM
This is a big day for Merck, which got fast-track approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a new drug to fight cancer.

The FDA said "yes" to Keytruda, which is the brand name for pembrolizumab. It is the first anti-PD-1 drug approved by the FDA for treatment of some of the deadly forms of melanoma.

Merck & Co., is based in Whitehouse Stations, N.J., and employs thousands of people in Montgomery County.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 4:20 PM
The serious number crunchers at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released their latest projections for U.S. healthcare spending from 2013 through 2023 and the numbers are staggering. The growth rate is near the historic low, helped by fewer expensive and blockbuster drugs in recent years, but will likely rise in the next few years as more Americans get older.

The report was published in Health Affairs. A link is here, though it is only available free for a week.

The Office of the Actuary of CMS projects that healthcare will account for 19.3 percent of gross domestic product by 2013, whereas it was a mere 17.2 percent in 2012. In dollar terms, economist Andrea Sisko said, the projected spending in the United States would increase from $2.9 trillion to $5.2 trillion. Yes, trillion.

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.

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 Staff Writer
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