Biopharmaceutical News Week 49 2014

Job cut in R&D GSK BMS



Pharma Re-organisation

December 2, 2014 

Sanofi agrees with Evotec in a 250 million euro drug discovery alliance

Sanofi is in talks with German Biotech Evotec about a five-year “multi-component strategic alliance” that would be worth at least 250 million euros for Evotec. As part of the agreement, Evotec would take over Sanofi's R&D facility in Toulouse, France, and provide outsourced services to Sanofi.


GlaxoSmithKline cuts jobs in the US

GSK will eliminate 900 jobs from its US operations in Research Triangle Park (RTC), North Carolina as part of its previously announced plan to reduce costs by $1.6 Billion.


BMS makes up to 1,000 job cuts in China

According to China Daily, a BMS statement says: "As part of our organization's evolution, we are reviewing and determining the appropriate structure and size of the organization with the objective to best serve our patients in China. We will make every effort to minimize the impact on individuals and to treat all impacted employees fairly in accordance with applicable laws/regulations of China."



Acquisitions /Mergers/Joint-ventures

December 2, 2014 

Japan's Otsuka buys Avanir for $3.5 billion

Japanese Otsuka plans to buy U.S.-based Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc for about $3.5 billion to expand its neurologic drug portfolio. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd would pay $17 per share in cash, or a premium of 13.3 percent to Avanir's closing on December 1.



November 27, 2014 

UK Modern Biosciences Group signs a £176 million Rheumatoid Arthritis deal with Janssen

The collaboration will trigger Janssen Biotech to work with Modern Biosciences Group (MBS) on novel bone-protective compounds acting through a new mechanism of action for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. MBS is a spin-out company from the University of Aberdeen.


December 1, 2014

AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly begin a large trial for Alzheimer's BACE inhibitor

AstraZeneca and partner Eli Lilly have begun a large trial for the product, known as AZD3293 or LY3314814. The two-year study aims to enrol more than 1,500 patients in 15 countries with early-stage Alzheimer’s and is expected to be completed in 2019.


Servier teams up with GeNeuro in a $455M Deal for Multiple Sclerosis Drug Candidates

Servier, from France, will team up with GeNeuro, from Switzerland, to develop GNbAC1, in a deal that could generate up to $455 million for GeNeuro. GNbAC1 is a humanized monoclonal antibody designed to stop progression of both relapsing-remitting and progressive forms of Multiple Sclerosis. GNbAC1 has already successfully completed Phase IIa, showing encouraging signs of efficacy.



Approval of drugs

December 3, 2014

Amgen drug for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, blinatunomab, approved by the FDA

The US FDA has approved Amgen's blinatumomab, which will be marketed as Blincyto, for treatment of a form of leukemia, five months ahead of schedule. The FDA's decision was based on data from a clinical trial that showed 32% of patients who received the drug achieved complete remission for seven months following a four-week infusion of the drug.



Drugs at clinical stage

November 27, 2014 

Impressive survival data for Clovis' rociletinib

Interim results for rociletinib, Clovis Oncology’s third-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor have shown impressive activity in lung cancer patients with the T790M mutation. “Currently there are no approved targeted therapies for mutant EGFR-positive lung cancer patients who develop the T790M mutation,” said Jean-Charles Soria of France’s Gustave Roussy Cancer Centre, reporting results of a Phase II study at the recent EORTC-NCI-AACR meeting in Barcelona. Rociletinib, an oral agent, was designed to both inhibit the T790 mutation, as well as avoid impacting the activity of wild-type EGFR. Clovis expects to submit rociletinib in the USA in the second quarter next year.


December 1, 2014

Breakthrough status for Takeda’s ixazomib in amyloidosis

The US FDA has assigned Takeda’s ixazomib (MLN9708) ‘breakthrough’ status for the treatment of relapsed or refractory systemic light-chain (AL) amyloidosis. The disease is a rare and aggressive protein mis-folding disorder, with fewer than 3,000 cases diagnosed in the US every year, which is characterised by the deposition of amyloid in the heart and the kidneys. Ixazomib, is the first proteasome inhibitor to receive breakthrough therapy designation for amyloidosis.


December 3, 2014

Excitement over early-stage Biogen Alzheimer's data

Biogen Idec has announced that it is moving an investigational Alzheimer’s drug, aducanumab (BIIB037) into Phase III on the basis of promising early-stage data. Biogen acquired aducanumab from Neurimmune Therapeutics in 2007.


Canadian researchers show artificial pancreas improves treatment for Type 1 diabetes

A study conducted by the IRCM and the University of Montreal and published in the journal The Lancet, found that use of an external artificial pancreas improved glucose control and reduced the risk of hypoglycemia when compared with other treatments. The dual-hormone artificial pancreas provided additional reduction in hypoglycemia compared to the single hormone system;The external artificial pancreas is an automated system that simulates the human pancreas by continuously adapting insulin delivery based on changes in glucose levels.



Hydration could save many Ebola victims

The epidemic in West Africa has already claimed more than 6,000 lives. Many patients are succumbing to extreme dehydration and electrolyte depletion caused by vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors say that simple intravenous fluid drips could save the lives of many Ebola patients, but they are not being deployed due to a perception that the treatment will not work.


Author : Jean-Claude MULLER, Special Advisor,Innovation & International Relationship (I&IR)



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