Product news from the 01/09/07 news brief

The FDA has approved MedImmune’s new refrigerated formulation of FluMist (influenza virus vaccine, intranasal) for use in helping to prevent influenza in healthy children and adults ages 5-49. The FDA approved Pfizer’s Slentrol (dirlotapide) for the management of obesity in dogs. Slentrol should be available in the spring according to Pfizer Animal Health. The once-daily drug should cost between $1 and $2 a dose. Stephen Sundlof, director of Center of Veterinary Medicine at the FDA, called Slentrol “a welcome addition to animal therapies because dog obesity appears to be increasing.” Veterinarians generally define a dog that weighs 20 % more than its ideal weight as obese. Surveys have found that approximately 5% of dogs in the US are obese and another 20-30% are overweight. The 180-day exclusivity period for Pfizer antidepressant Zoloft is set to expire next month. That means generics firm Ivax Pharmaceuticals—the only firm permitted to market generic Zoloft since the drug went off patent last year—will be joined by several competitors in offering low-cost copies. Generics companies that have received tentative approval to sell additional copies once Ivax’s six-month window expires include Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Genpharm, Mylan, Roxane and Apotex. Cubist Pharmaceuticals reported that fourth-quarter US sales of its antibiotic Cubicin, used to treat staph infections of the skin and blood, jumped 54%. Fourth quarter sales increased to $56.2 million, from $36.6 million during the same period in 2005. Full-year sales totaled $189.5 million, up 67% from 2005 sales of $113.5 million. Cubist is scheduled to report fourth quarter sales and full-year earnings results on Jan. 24.