Business briefs: AbbVie, FDA, and health spending projections

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AbbVie continues to roll through the week with collaboration news. The company announced Tuesday a deal with established partner Galapagos to pursue and develop oral cystic fibrosis treatments. The agreement includes $45 million for Galapagos on signing, as well as additional milestone payments that can up the deal by $360 million. In addition to targeting CF as opposed to looking for a Humira Part II, Tuesday's deal differs from its RA collaboration with Ablynx in that the first milestone is just the beginning of the relationship: AbbVie and Galapagos will work on financially ushering the CF medications through Phase III clinical development.

The Street's Adam Feuerstein notes that the pending government shutdown could cause the FDA to postpone advisory committees scheduled for October, including those for Amarin (vascepta), Johnson & Johnson (simeprevir) and Gilead (sofosbuvir). The reason: a shutdown means furloughed workers. If things stay as they are, the government could begin shutting things down October 1. Politico reports that while a continuing resolution is being kicked around, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid may be angling for one with a shorter window—one that would only carry into November, instead of December—if temporary funding ends up being the fall's mini-funding solution.

Fitch Ratings says the FDA's approval rate is slower than that of 2012, reports Drug Discovery & Development. According to Fitch the FDA's number of NME approvals through August has failed to keep pace with last year's numbers, but that it expected the regulator was going to slow things down in 2013. The scorecard so far is 18 NMEs approved through August 2013, compared to 22 for the same period last year.

Last week's healthcare spending projections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid indicated that what some considered to be slow growth in healthcare spending—less than 4% in 2013, continuing last year's trend—could be coming to a relative end. CMS predicted consumers would spend an average of 5.8% more per year between 2012 and 2022, while GDP would also edge up but not as quickly. Against this backdrop, Modern Healthcare adds additional context, noting on Tuesday that a report by the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute tallied healthcare spend among the privately insured in 2012. The findings: patients paid $181 more per person last year than they did in 2011. Looking at three years of numbers from insurers including Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare, the Care Cost Institute found that privately insured patients paid 16.3% of their costs last year, compared to 16.1% in 2010, with the driver being higher prices, and that there was greater demand for prescription drugs and medical procedures.
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