Business briefs Merck/Cerecor, Alcon, Eli Lilly

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Biotech Cerecor has acquired rights and licensing from Merck to develop and market COMT inhibitors—a potential treatment for Parkinson's. COMT is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, and drugs that block COMT have been used to treat Parkinson's disease. Cerecor also noted that its possible COMT inhibitors could be used to treat other neurological disorders like schizophrenia and addiction. The Baltimore-based biotech will review more than 2,000 potential drugs for clinical development. Merck may receive milestone payments and some royalties from sales of any drugs that are approved. Specifics of the deal were not disclosed.

Alcon launched DROPS101, an educational mobile website, today. The platform is designed to help parents find prescription savings info, dosing instructions, and games to reward children for adherence and occupy them during drop administration. It's all bundled into a social media sharing platform. Alcon marketing manager, Amt Patyk, said in the release: “We heard from patients that they needed a one-click resource for prescribed eye and ear treatments. When we developed DROPS101, our goal was to improve communication between healthcare professionals and patients.”

Two out of three people were unfamiliar with personalized medicine according to a study commissioned by Eli Lilly and conducted by Gfk. While a third weren't aware of the phenomenon, the majority “were supportive once the concept was introduced,” researchers said, and 72% didn't believe “there was enough information available to patients about new treatment options like personalized medicine.” The findings were presented at the European Alliance for Personalized Medicine; the survey polled 4,341 individuals, of which 3,009 were general population and 663 were cancer patients.

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