Roche to acquire InterMune for $8.3bn

Swiss drugmaker Roche signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire InterMune for around $8.3bn.

As part of the all-cash transaction, Roche has offered the company $74 per share to fully acquire InterMune. It represents a premium of 38% of InterMune’s closing price on 22 August and a premium of 63% to the closing price on 12 August.

The acquisition of the California-based biotechnology company will help Roche expand its respiratory portfolio around the world.

UK launches new Ebola research initiative


The Wellcome Trust and the Department for International Development (DFID) launched a new research initiative to restrict the spread of Ebola, which has killed approximately 1,200 people in West Africa.

Conducted as part of a £6.5m research initiative, expert teams from different parts of the world are being invited to submit research proposals to combat the outbreak.

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Funding will be provided through the initiative, which is jointly funded by the DFID and the Wellcome Trust. It will be managed by Enhancing Learning & Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA).

GlaxoSmithKline may start clinical trials on Ebola vaccine next month

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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is expecting to commence clinical trials on its experimental Ebola vaccine as soon as this month.

A GSK spokesperson was quoted as saying the trial should begin ‘later this year’.

The vaccine is under development with GSK in collaboration with scientists at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Meda agrees to acquire Rottapharm for €2.3bn

Swedish drugmaker Meda agreed to acquire Italy-based Rottapharm Madaus for around €2.3bn as part of its strategy to boost its profits and its presence in emerging markets.

The deal comes only a few weeks after the Italian firm abandoned its floatation plans.

It is the biggest acquisition Meda has made to date.

Pfizer to acquire Baxter’s portfolio of marketed vaccines for $635m


Pfizer and Baxter entered into a definitive agreement under which Pfizer will acquire Baxter’s portfolio of marketed vaccines for $635m.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will also acquire a portion of Baxter’s facility in Orth, Austria, where the vaccines are manufactured.

Baxter’s portfolio of marketed vaccines includes NeisVac-C, which helps protect against meningitis caused by group C meningococcal meningitis, and FSME-IMMUN/TicoVac, which aids in the prevention of tick-borne encephalitis.

GSK faces new claims of bribery in Syria

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) faced new allegations of bribing doctors and officials in Syria to increase the sales of its medicines.

This fresh round of charges was reported by the Reuters news agency after an anonymous email was sent to chief executive Andrew Witty and GSK audit committee chair Judy Lewent.

The email stated: "GSK has been engaging in multiple corrupt and illegal practices in conducting its pharmaceutical business in Syria."

NICE rejects Roche’s new breast cancer drug over high pricing


The NHS drug advisory body National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) rejected Roche’s new breast cancer drug Kadcyla (trastuzumab emtansine) because of the treatment’s high cost.

Trastuzumab emtansine is an antibody-drug conjugate developed for treating adult patients with unresectable metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer previously treated with trastuzumab and a taxane.

The drug has been shown to extend overall survival by around 5.8 months when compared with treatment with lapatinib and capecitabine. Around 1,500 women in Britain could benefit from the drug every year.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Allied Minds form new research enterprise


Bristol-Myers Squibb and Allied Minds formed a new jointly owned enterprise, Allied-Bristol Life Sciences, aimed at advancing discoveries of biopharmaceutical innovations at leading US academic research institutions.

Allied-Bristol Life Sciences will work with researchers at US university research institutions to identify discoveries that have therapeutic and commercial potential, and will support the research and development needed to take these early-stage opportunities from initial feasibility to pre-clinical candidacy.

The newly formed enterprise will efficiently and effectively transform early-stage academic innovation into therapeutic candidates for clinical study, and ultimately into approved therapies that address serious diseases.