Possible Suitors in Big Pharma M&A

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor Pfizer’s pending $68-billion merger with Wyeth has raised the question on possible suitors in another merger among the pharmaceutical majors. A recent article in the New York Times gained the input of Wall Street analysts, who speculate that Merck, Sanofi-Aventis, and Johnson & Johnson may be next in line to seek acquisitions among their Big Pharma brethen or in select biotechnology companies. Read more »

The AIDS Vaccine Challenge

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorLast month, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the Rockefeller Foundation announced a challenge to HIV/AIDS scientists: design an AIDS-fighting protein to win $150,000. The winning protein design and sample will advance HIV vaccine development, and the winning researchers could receive a bonus of up to $1 million and/or the chance to pursue their research further with help from IAVI. Read more »

ImClone in Negotiations with Mystery Bidder

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorWhen it rejected both of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s bids of $60, then $62 per share, ImClone said it had been approached by “a large pharmaceutical company” offering $70 per share, or $6.1 billion, subject to due diligence. Some wondered whether this was a bluff. Now, it seems the mystery suitor may be closer to owning the New York-based biotech company. Read more »

Born under a Bad Sign

Erik Greb PharmTech editor

I’m not an astrologist, but sometimes you have to wonder whether plans were hatched under a bad sign. It certainly seems that way for “Vytorin,” a cholesterol-lowering drug that combines simvastatin and “Zetia.” The drug, introduced by Merck and Schering-Plough, has suffered damaging revelations. Read more »

Report Says Merck’s Vioxx Study Was All Marketing, Not Science

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorA paper published in the August 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine says a 1999 study done by Merck & Co., Inc. for its now-withdrawn painkiller Vioxx is “an example of marketing framed as science.” The journal first published results of the trial, known as ADVANTAGE (Assessment of Differences between Vioxx and Naproxen To Ascertain Gastrointestinal Tolerability and Effectiveness), in 2003. Read more »

Big Pharma’s Outsourcing Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editorA second information request by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on the outsourcing practices of a major pharmaceutical company—this time Merck & Co.—is moving the issue of outsourcing into an uncomfortable zone of political expediency versus constructive debate. Read more »

Vaccine Makers Prepare for Challenges Old and New

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorEarlier this month, the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia sponsored “The Future of Vaccines,” a symposium attended by experts in academia, government, and industry. During the meeting, these experts agreed that although vaccines hold a vital role in the future of public healthcare, there continue to be several major obstacles that must be overcome if the field is to progress. In their opinion, these challeges include access, inconsistent funding, public misperceptions, and scientific roadblocks. Read more »

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