Pharma Tech Focus December 2016

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Pfizer has announced it will buy out AstraZeneca’s $1.6bn antibiotics arm in a move the company says will allow it to focus on infectious diseases in most markets outside the US. So what does the deal mean for the two companies and could this be a precursor to bigger moves afoot at Pfizer, with some pundits predicting a company split in the not too distant future?

We also find out more about the Longitude Prize’s new initiative CARB-X, an accelerator to help solve antimicrobial resistance, take a look at some of the new vaccines in the pipeline for 2017, and explore new research into treatments to manage Tourette syndrome, including Neurocrine’s valbenazine and GW Pharma’s cannabinoid spray Sativex.

Plus, we explore both sides of the debate about the value of targeted lung cancer treatments, and take a closer look at a new trial testing ketamine as a potential treatment for depression.

In this issue

The Big Buyout
Pfizer’s acquisition of AstraZeneca’s antibiotics unit will strengthen its anti-infectives portfolio, but is it also a precursor to bigger moves from the drug maker? Elly Earls reports.
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The Race for the Prize
The Longitude Prize has set the standard for competitions looking for disruptive new ideas to tackle the antimicrobial resistance crisis. Chris Lo finds out more from Nesta’s Longitude Prize lead Tamar Ghosh.
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The Year of the Vaccines
The global health community has reinvigorated its search for vaccines against epidemics, pandemics and bioterrorist threats. Elly Earls profiles three of the most promising contenders on the cards for 2017.
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Targeting Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome is a complex condition, and unscrambling the neurological factors behind it has influenced treatments. As researchers come closer to understanding its etiology, Abi Millar explores the new drugs being developed to suit.
Read the article.

Innovative Influenza Vaccines
In July last year, CSL announced the formation of Seqirus, a subsidiary that combines its own influenza vaccine portfolio with assets acquired from Novartis. Achilleas Livieratos, PhD, GlobalData analyst covering infectious diseases, reports.
Read the article.

Up for Debate
US industry group PhRMA has criticised an evidence report by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, which puts a low value on targeted treatments and immunotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. Abi Millar reports.
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The Potential of Ketamine
Since the turn of the millennium, researchers have been investigating ketamine as a possible treatment for major depression. Abi Millar finds out more about the drug’s potential.
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Next issue preview

Having lost the Democratic nomination after a passionate campaign, Bernie Sanders has stepped up his condemnation of the pharma industry. His criticism of Ariad over the price of its leukaemia drug, for example, knocked $400m off the company’s value. We ask whether the pharma industry should fear the fury of a politician scorned.

We also find out how far companies will go to protect market exclusivity and consider the ethics pay-to-delay agreements, explore a project that intends to foster genomic and epidemiological research to improve health across Africa, and take a closer look at mononucleosis, a condition linked to glandular fever that affects millions but has no cure.

Plus, we delve into the history of ibuprofen in the wake of a new breakthrough that may allow people to take higher doses without the cardiovascular side effects, and find out how China can crack down on falsified clinical data.

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