Business briefs: GSK, Incyte, Pfizer, plus EU's R&D hike
China is taking an even closer look into local GlaxoSmithKline doings, reports Reuters, which says a government ministry claims GSK executives have confessed to bribery and tax violations. The accusations include bribing government officials, medical associations and doctors to boost sales and prices. GSK tells Reuters it is taking the allegations seriously, and Reuters notes it is just one of a series of investigations China's government has launched against firms over issues such as “alleged price fixing, quality controls and consumer rights,” among others. Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that GlaxoSmithKline was looking into how its team marketed Botox in China based on allegations that sales teams used personal email addresses to talk to doctors about promoting Botox and offering financial rewards. WSJ notes that Glaxo looked into similar allegations in January and found no wrongdoing.
Incyte's myelofibrosis drug Jakafi has reportedly been linked to a case of progressive multifocal leukocephalopathy (PML), the brain inflammation, reports MedPage Today. The JAK-1 and JAK-2 inhibitor was approved in 2011. PML cases have stalked Biogen Idec's MS drug Tysabri. Biogen updated its label in 2012 noting that patients who test positive for the JC virus before treatment are at a higher risk of contracting PML than those with negative results.
Pfizer's Prevnar 13 got a double-dose of positive coverage Tuesday, on the regulatory and research fronts. The EMA approved the pneumonia vaccine's use to include adults between 18 and 49, reports Reuters. It was previously indicated for children between the ages of six weeks and 17 years and adults 50 or older. (The FDA greenlighted the drug for the six-week to 17-year age group in January.) The vaccine has also been linked to eliminating 73,000 hospitalizations a year among patients 85 and up, and to slashing hospitalizations of children under two by 43%, or by 47,000 visits. Lead researcher Marie Griffin told Reuters that Prevnar has also prevented ear infections and outpatient visits.The European Commission and EU member states are putting almost $29 billion behind a research effort that will include medicine, bio-based industries and aeronautics. The research partnership will span seven years, and the majority of the money will be meted out among five public-private partnerships, with the main goal being focusing on industries that offer what the European Commission calls “high quality jobs.” The Innovative Medicines Initiative's goals include increasing the clinical-trial success rate by 30%, and new diagnostic markers for categories including respiratory and immunological diseases and new Alzheimer's disease therapies.