Company news: WebMD, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline

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Publicis alum David Marek has signed on as WebMD's executive vice president, consumer services. Marek will be in charge of content, editorial, programming, product development and marketing. He will report to CEO Cavan Redmond. Marek was previously the worldwide business director for Publicis, for which he had also led Saatchi & Saatchi Health. Marek starts September 4. WebMD has also taken on Weber Shandwick to handle project work through the rest of this year, PRWeek reported. The agreement builds on work the agency performed for WebMD earlier this year.

Pfizer and Mylan have teamed up to market, distribute and manufacture generics in Japan. The companies announced the exclusive long-term agreement, which includes more than 350 products and 125 more that are in development, Wednesday. The deal gives Pfizer responsibility for marketing the products Mylan makes. Product labels will name both Pfizer and Mylan. The companies will also continue to operate independently in Japan, outside of the generics agreement.

GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen are bringing their rheumatoid arthritis candidate one step closer to development. The partners announced Thursday that they have started Phase III trials of sirkumab, a human anti-interleukin-6 monoclonal antibody. The experimental drug is  being tested for patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis and targets a protein the companies believe is associated with autoimmune conditions like RA.

Gilead has stopped Phase II trials of its pulmonary arterial hypertension drug cicletanine, reported BioWorld Today. The news source said results failed to measure up, specifically with respect to improved exercise capacity. The condition results in increased pressure on the pulmonary artery, and patients usually live four to five years after diagnosis, reported BioWorld.
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