Business briefs: AstraZeneca, Everyday Health, J&J

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A U.S court has ruled that an AstraZeneca patent protecting Pulmicort Repsules is invalid, paving the way for Actavis to push its generic formulation of the drug to market. AstraZeneca said in a statement that it would appeal the decision. Pulmicort Repsules brought in sales of around $1.2 billion last year in the U.S.

Analyst Barbara Ryan is staying with the pharmaceutical beat, but is no longer a Deustsche Bank number cruncher. Instead, she is now managing director of FTI Consulting's strategic communications division. Ryan, who will remain in New York while working for Florida-based FTI, will “support the firm's healthcare and life sciences transactions communications and crisis communications” according to a company statement.

Consulting firm Deloitte announced Tuesday that is scooping up Vivens, the IT firm associated with Salesforce and Sharepoint, among others. Deloitte said in a statement that the acquisition will make the firm the Salesforce market leader in Benelux.

Everyday Health and Mayo Clinic have agreed to expand their advertising relationship. Everyday Health will continue to seek ads on Mayo's behalf for consumer packaged goods, like OTC medications. The new agreement will expand its advertising focus to include landing accounts from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Everyday Health's deal announcement noted that the Mayo Clinic site's content, ownership and design remain an in-house Mayo project. “Proceeds from advertising and sponsorship on its health information website. . . help support medical education and research programs,” Everyday Health said in a statement. The money also funds the site's operation.

While a February survey by Industry Standard Research reinforced MMIS's findings that doctors aren't all that familiar with the Sunshine rules CMS nailed down in February, ISR sussed out some additional details about the rule's potential impact. Among them were that knowledgeable docs expect pharma to approach them with all the information they need up front regarding the “value of a particular service or benefit is prior to being offered it.” ISR researchers also noted that the rules have made clinical researchers sensitive to their research portfolios and expect to “possibly throttle back the number of trials” they run for a sponsor if it looks like 40% of its trials are for one industry source. ISR researchers said that about one of every eight investigators would scale back their business if “their site started to make ‘too much' money from clinical trials.”

One business day after FDA approval, and sales forecasts for J&J's diabetes drug Ivokana have started to roll in. Forbes noted that Wells Fargo analyst Lawrence Biegelson pegged worldwide sales for the SGLT2 inhibitor at $122 million this year, growing to around $667 million by 2016. Friday's greenlight was notable because it was the first drug approval in this class, but Biegelson wrote that despite having advantages over Merck's GLP-1 Januvia, Ivokana and other SGLT2s may be hampered by the side effects associated with the class: a high rate of genital infections, which he wrote could keep customers away.
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