Life Science Weekly inSite (Oct. 6 - 10)
A weekly round-up of biotech's top stories from around the world
By Suvarna Bhatt, Feature Editor
SAN FRANCISCO – Eli Lilly confirmed on Monday that it would buy ImClone for $6.5 billion. The news left Bristol-Myers Squibb Co on the side-lines, but at the close of ImClone's agreement, Bristol will receive $1 billion for its 17 percent stake in the company. The mega-acquisition will give Lilly rights to ImClone's cancer drug, Erbitux and five other drug products. The second largest newsmaker on Monday was Dendreon Corporation whose shares soared when an independent data monitoring committee found that the company’s prostate cancer drug, Provenge cut death risk in those using the drug by 20 percent compared to a placebo.
On Tuesday, Pfizer gave some details about its proposed realignment. The New York-based giant informed employees in an internal memo that it will be forming business units in primary care, specialty care and emerging markets in an effort to streamline its operations. The company said no jobs will be affected by the changes. While Pfizer’s news of reorganization created a large buzz, another pharmaceutical company, AtheroGenics announced it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. AtheroGenics’ filing comes in response to the involuntary bankruptcy petition filed against the company by creditors in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia after it failed to repay convertible notes due 2008 and 2011. The company has received a delisting notice from the NASDAQ Global Market.
Pfizer’s news of realignment echoed into Wednesday, making it a top news story for a second day. A negative news trend continued when MonoGen Inc. said it will stop its commercial operations and reduce its workforce by 75 percent. MonoGen's President and CEO, Ted S. Geiselman, said strong measures are necessary because despite the company’s efforts looking for additional investment, adverse financial market conditions and increased commercial challenges have made raising additional capital unfeasible.
On Thursday, Novo Nordisk A/S made news when it announced it will trade products with Innate Pharma, a biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class drugs targeting the innate immune system. Innate acquired the worldwide exclusive development and commercial rights to IPH 2101 from Novo Nordisk. Nventa Biopharmaceuticals also made BioSpace's top headlines when it announced corporate restructuring and staff reduction by 60 percent.
The top story on Friday was the discontinuation of Biogen Idec’s rheumatoid arthritis drug, baminecept. The experimental drug failed to meet primary and secondary endpoints in phase two trials. The second leading news was that the FDA will not complete its review of Takeda Pharma’s Alogliptin NDA by the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date of October 27, 2008. The FDA’s decision to delay review of the type 2 diabetes treatment will prevent PDD Inc., from receiving a $25 million milestone payment this quarter.
That’s it for last week’s leading biotech news from the BioSpace news desk...stay tuned for the following week’s top movers and shakers...
Suvarna Bhatt is a Feature Editor for BioSpace.com. Click here to contact her.