11. November 2011 14:05
Inconsistent NHS leadership questioned
The NHS has suffered due to inconsistent leadership over a prolonged period, peers in the House of Lords have been told.
Baroness Cumberlege, a Conservative peer, told the House the number of different health secretaries in recent times has led to a lack of trust and confusion by the health service.
Speaking during the committee stage of the Health Bill, Baroness Cumberlege compared the Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25-year reign at Manchester United and asked “what difference it might make to the NHS” had it had a leader for a similar tenure.
Since 1997, there have been seven different health secretaries – six of which under the previous Labour government.
“One of the real problems that we have, and it exists even if it is the same party in power for a length of time, we lack a consistency of leadership, because the Secretaries of State are here one minute and gone the next,” said Baroness Cumberlege.
“I think that contributes to an NHS that gets confused, that gets fed up and is mistrustful of its masters.”
10. November 2011 14:33
Roche has appointed Pamela Carroll as its new Global Head of Pathways Biology within in Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development unit.
She will also act as oncology discovery site head at the company’s research facility in Nutley, New Jersey.
Mike Burgess, Global Head Oncology, Discovery and Translational Area, and head, large molecule research at Roche, says Pam “has built a reputation for scientific excellence and leadership in the field”.
She first entered the pharmaceutical industry in 1999 with Bristol-Myers Squibb before joining Merck. Two years ago, she moved to the Belfer Institute of Applied Cancer Sciences at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School.
“Her broad knowledge and successful history in leading oncology drug discovery efforts make her is an ideal fit for this position,” Mr Burgess added.
9. November 2011 13:48
Revenue was up 10% in Q3 at Lundbeck to DKK 4.9 billion but profit from operations fell nearly a quarter (22%) after restructuring its R&D department.
Growth was driven by an increase in revenue from a number of its key products and milestone payments following the launch of escitalopram in Japan.
Ulf Wiinberg, Lundbeck’s President and CEO, says the company is “very pleased with yet another strong quarter” after its branded products delivered “solid results”.
Sales of Sabril increased by nearly half (47%) to DKK 77 million, compared to the third quarter in 2010, with revenue also up for Xenazine in the US by a fifth, compared with the same period, to DKK 191 million.
Lundbeck’s key products, Cipralex, Ebixa and Azilect, which grew 5%, 18% and 20% respectively, compared to the period last year, helped boost revenue from International Markets up 20% to DKK 901 million.
“We are now entering a new era with many new product launches,” said Ulf Wiinberg. “With the launch of Lexapro in Japan, the continued roll out of Sycrest and the forthcoming launch of OnfiTM in the US, we have expanded on our product diversification and strengthened our long term growth prospects substantially.”
9. November 2011 11:54
The FDA has approved Cordis Corporation’s Empira and Empira NC RX PTCA dilatation catheters for the treatment of coronary artery disease.
Both balloon catheters are designed to allow cardiologists to open patients’ narrowed coronary arteries during angioplasty procedures.
Dr Campbell Rogers, Chief Scientific Officer and Global Head of R&D at Cordis, said that the company “worked closely with physician-customers and incorporated their feedback into the design of these next generation devices. We believe the unique design of the Empira Balloon Catheters will meet physicians' needs and has the potential to improve patient outcomes”.
The two medical devices bring several design and technology alterations to Cordis’ portfolio of Empira balloon catheters. They feature the company’s next generation Duralyn Flex balloon material, which is 50% more flexible than the material used in the current Fire Star and Dura Star RX PTCA dilatation catheters, to improve crossability and recrossability, the ability to pass through a lesion.
Cordis Corporation is a Johnson & Johnson company, and develops and manufactures interventional vascular technology. The company works with interventional cardiologists, radiologists and vascular surgeons to treat patients with vascular disease.
The products are expected to be launched for sale in early 2012.
9. November 2011 11:43
Between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs are expected to be lost at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries as part of the company’s cost-cutting measures.
Reports from Israel claim the majority of the layoffs will be made in the US and Europe and mainly focused in Teva’s recently acquired Cephalon’s generic business.
The reports say that Teva is hoping to raise $500 million in synergies from its takeover with job losses expected to raise the majority of its target.
Teva has already said it is planning to cut sales, marketing and administrative expenses by $300 million, R&D by between $120 million and $150 million, and production costs by $50 million to $80 million. R&D savings would be achieved by cutting duplicate operations, the company said.
Teva has a history of job losses following takeovers of generic companies. In 2008 it bought US generic specialist Barr and reduced its workforce by 10%, reports say.
A reduction of 1,000 jobs at Cephalon would represent a loss of 27% roles before the takeover. But one company where job losses will be made, the reports say, is at Mepha, the Swiss generics manufacturer Cephalon bought last year. The company had 620 jobs prior to the acquisition.
9. November 2011 10:27
Novartis has appointed Dr Timothy Wright as its new Global Head of Development.
Dr Wright joined the pharmaceutical company in 2004 and most recently served as Senior Vice President and Global Head of Translational Sciences at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR).
His previous positions include exploratory therapy area leader for Inflammation at Pfizer and chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh.
8. November 2011 16:26
Medtronic has launched its T2 Altitude expandable corpectomy device for spinal stabilisation and correction worldwide.
The expandable vertebral body replacement cage features a self-locking mechanism that removes the need for placing a set screw during surgery, using bone graft to create contact to encourage fusion with the device.
Doug King, Senior Vice President and President of Medtronic Spinal, said that the new product demonstrates the company’s “long-term commitment to therapies for complex spine disorders for spinal tumour, trauma and deformity patients”.
Cancer patients can also benefit from the product. If the cancer has spread to the spine, the surgeon may replace the affected vertebrae with the T2 Altitude device.
More than 150,000 spinal fractures occur in North America every year, of which approximately 11,000 are spinal cord injuries.
Based in Memphis, Medtronic Spinal provides advanced treatment through the collaboration with surgeons and researchers to offer affordable, minimally-invasive products and medical technologies for neurological, orthopaedic and spinal conditions.
8. November 2011 15:53
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company has created several new positions as part of its “Transformation into a New Takeda”, restructuring the company’s business operations.
The new roles include Chief Medical and Scientific Officer (CMSO) and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
The CMSO is set to replace the existing post of Chief Scientific Officer, to be filled by board member Dr Tadataka Yamada, a medical doctor and scientist with strong experience in pharmaceutical R&D.
The CCO will be responsible for the company’s global sales structure, replacing existing positions in International Operations in the US, Europe and North Asia.
Takeda’s Chief Executive Dr Frank Morich will claim this position, who will lead sales strategies in the US, EU and key emerging markets.
The restructuring of the company is said to relect Takeda’s recent acquisition of Nycomed, which the firm described as “another significant step towards globalisation”.
Takeda fully acquired Nycomed in October in a cash deal worth €9.6 million.
8. November 2011 15:44
Eli Lilly has won its first trial over health risks concerning its anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa.
It is the first of 40 outstanding patient lawsuits involving the medication that claim the company concealed the drug’s side effects from patients and doctors.
Approximately 31,000 patient lawsuits were originally filed, most of which were covered by a $1.2 billion settlement, leaving 110 patient claims pending in 40 lawsuits.
The case in Los Angeles was filed by the family of a 20-year-old student who died while taking Zyprexa. They said that Lilly hid the medicine’s safety risks whilst marketing the medication for both approved and off-label uses in the US.
The lawsuit also claimed that the pharmaceutical company trained its sales representatives to counteract questions regarding risks of weight gain and diabetes linked to Zyprexa.
In addition to its settlement deal of $1.2 billion, Lilly also paid $1.42 billion for federal off-label marketing investigations and $260 million for state claims.
8. November 2011 12:06
Healthcare corporation 3M has lost its dispute with representatives of the British Government over the company’s failure to market a diagnostic for MRSA developed within the Ministry of Defence.
The complainants have won $1.3 million in damages, whereas they were seeking $40 million – an outcome claimed by both sides as a success.
The BacLite medical device, which uses photoluminescence to detect MRSA bacteria, was purchased by 3M in 2007 and then abandoned as having failed the necessary clinical trials to support its marketing in the EU and the US.
The MoD, its spin-out company Ploughshare Innovations and private equity firm the Porton Group together claimed that 3M had deliberately mismanaged the BacLite trials in order to protect its rival (and more expensive) Fastman device.
The High Court in London found that 3M was in material breach of its obligation “actively to market” BacLite in the EU, the US, Canada and Australia, including its obligation to seek regulatory approval in the US.
However, it did not find that 3M had “intended” a breach of contract and thereby conducted the clinical trials dishonestly.
3M has announced its intention to pursue charges in the US against the Porton Group for alleged attempts to “extort” an out-of-court settlement by threatening to use political influence.
While the arguments rage on, the question of whether BacLite has the potential to improve worldwide treatment of MRSA remains unresolved.