Company news: Elsevier, Abbott, Genzyme

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Elsevier announced Wednesday that it has launched new Clinical Pharmacology Drug Class Overviews. The publisher said in a statement that the revamp provides information in a streamlined fashion that includes a bulleted summary, information about alternative therapies within a class along with clinical differences, comparative efficacy information and safety issues.

A report by the Chicago Tribune says that Abbott is the subject of a false claims lawsuit over its cholesterol drug Tricor. The paper said that a whistleblower has accused the company of illegally promoting the medication. Abbott told the Trib that the accusations lack merit, noting that the federal government hasn't bothered to pick up the case. The company settled lawsuits over its marketing of the anti-seizure medication Depakote for $1.6 million in May.

Sanofi's Genzyme subsidiary is changing distribution channels for its leukemia drug Campath. First reported by BioCentury and confirmed by spokesperson Bo Piela, the company is making the drug available through patient assistance programs, as opposed to its current commercial channels. Piela told MM&M that the changeover is a physician issue in terms of how to get the drugs to patients, who are typically on the medication for up to 12 weeks. The move, which goes into effect in the US September 4, is part of a larger change, which is the expected launch of Phase III Lemtrada, which Genzyme and Bayer have developed to treat multiple sclerosis. Lemtrada is essentially the same medication, but with a few differences, one being the indication. While Campath is indicated for leukemia, the company is seeking an MS indication for Lemtrada. Reuters noted Monday that an analyst estimated Lemtrada could have sales of about $400 million by 2018, if it's approved, putting its price closer to that of Biogen Idec's Tysabri and Novartis's Gilenya. Reuters noted that Campath had $76 million in sales last year.
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