Business briefs: Merck, Shiredidn't do much in terms of reducing cardiovascular death or stroke compared to standalone simvastatin. While Bloomberg noted market watchers took the board's “go on” message as a reason to rally behind the company, Matthew Herper of Forbes said last week that the study is poised to have a major impact on the cardiovascular category for two reasons: it hold millions of dollars in the balance at Merck and can determine the fate of pipeline PCSK9 drugs which are being prepped for testing that focuses on their “cholesterol-lowering potency, not hard proof they prevent heart attacks.” He added that if the Improve-It test fails, clearing the PCSK9 drugs of Amgen, Sanofi and Pfizer “becomes less likely.”
Shire's latest acquisition – privately-held Swedish firm Premacure AB – gives the company access to a Phase II treatment to prevent retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a rare disorder that puts premature infants at risk for blindness. The company announced the purchase Tuesday, noting that a successful treatment would be a first for the condition, and that the purchase gives the company a foothold in a new field: neonatology. The company said ROP is a concern for infants born at 31 weeks and is one of the most common causes of vision loss in childhood.