Company news from the 10/10/06 News Brief

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Pfizer entered into an agreement to acquire PowderMed, a privately held UK company specializing in the emerging science of DNA-based vaccines. PowderMed has developed a needle-free vaccine delivery system that delivers DNA-coated microscopic gold particles into the skin using pressurized helium gas. The particles penetrate the epidermal layer of the skin activating cells that in turn trigger an immune response. Vaccines based on the PMED technology have been shown to elicit both antibody and cell mediated immune responses, which could lead to improved efficacy compared to traditional vaccines, Pfizer said. GlaxoSmithKline has acquired CNS, the manufacturer of OTC products such as Breathe Right nasal strips and FiberChoice dietary fiber supplements for $566 million. The transaction is expected to close by early 2007. AstraZeneca has been recognized for the fifth consecutive year as one of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” by Working Mother magazine. A Philadelphia jury ruled that Wyeth’s hormone therapy PremPro was a cause of breast cancer in a 66-year-old woman, awarding her $1.5 million in compensatory damages. The verdict was the first loss in litigation involving about 5,000 lawsuits claiming PremPro and a related drug caused breast cancer and other diseases, The Wall Street Journal reported. Many of the suits were prompted by government studies showing a link between the drugs and increased risk for the diseases. Wyeth will have a chance to reverse the damages in the loss. A second phase of the trial is set to begin Oct. 12 in which plaintiff, Jennie Nelson of Dayton, OH, will have to prove Wyeth failed to adequately warn of Prempro’s risks, The Journal reported. If the jury finds in favor of Wyeth in the second phase, Nelson cannot collect any damages, including those awarded to her last week. If the jury finds against Wyeth, however, it may then award additional punitive damages.

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