Business briefs: Bayer, AZ, Pfizer, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

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Former Pfizer comms head Ray Kerins has joined Bayer as head of communications and public affairs for the company in the US. Kerins, who was VP, external affairs and worldwide communications, at Pfizer, left that company last summer.

AstraZeneca's MedImmune has acquired Michigan-based Alphacore in a bet on their early-stage cardiovascular treatment, ACP-501. The recombinant LCAT enzyme therapy, which is years away, could treat both acute and chronic cardiovascular disease. Alphacore reported Phase I data on ACP-501 last year and found that the drug was well-tolerated and provided a boost to HDL levels (good cholesterol).  Bahija Jallal, EVP, MedImmume, said in a statement: "Cardiovascular disease is projected to remain the single leading cause of death worldwide over the next decade and beyond. Through novel approaches like LCAT, we hope to shift the treatment paradigms in this area to help prevent and treat these conditions."

Pfizer announced a partnership with biotech Bind Therapeutics today. Details of the partnership were mostly kept under wraps, but Pfizer appears to be looking at the Cambridge-based biotech's nanoparticle delivery technology for use with their small molecules to more effectively deliver treatments. Bind also has a similar partnership with Amgen, also inked this year. Pfizer will give Bind $50 million up front with potential for another $160 million down the road if certain milestones are hit.

Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness named Hensley Evans EVP director of analytics and strategy. Evans joins the Publicis shop from imc2 (nee MEplusYOU), where she was Chief Strategy Officer, having grown the pharma practice there from $3 million to $30 million by taking it national. At Saatchi, Evans will serve on the management teams of both the consumer and New York professional agencies—Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness and Saatchi & Saatchi Health, respectively—and will boost the consumer shop's “ability to leverage data analytics and digital strategy to help clients better connect with consumers around wellness.”

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