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Novartis reached an agreement with Nestlé SA to acquire majority ownership of eyecare product manufacturer Alcon. Under the deal, Novartis plans to purchase a 25% stake in Alcon from Nestlé for $11 billion. The deal is slated to be complete in the second-half of 2008. The second step provides rights for Novartis to acquire, and Nestlé to sell, the remaining 52% Alcon stake held by Nestlé between January 2010 and July 2011. By fully acquiring Alcon, Novartis gains access to an eyecare market that had about $25 billion in sales in 2007. Alcon had 2007 annual sales of $5.6 billion. 
 
Boehringer Ingelheim reported an income gain of 5% to 1.8 billion Euros for 2007, as strong sales of COPD drug Spiriva helped the firm overcome currency disparities and the loss of US exclusivity for arthritis drug Mobic. Spiriva sales were up 35%, the company said, to just under 1.8 billion Euros, while Micardis sales were up 23% to 1.1 billion Euros, Flomax/Alna sales were up 19% to 1 billion Euros and Sifrol/Mirapex was up 26% to 644 million Euros. The weak dollar hurt the firm, which does around half its business in the US. The company expects to launch five new products over the next few years, starting with blood thinner Pradaxa, and says they'll bring in about 2.5 billion Euros in revenue between 2009 and 2012. In October, the firm won FDA approval to market HIV treatment Aptivus, for which it has initiated head-to-head trials against Johnson & Johnson's Prezista, and last month, the company won approval to market Pradaxa in the EU.
 
Healthcare customer relationship management (CRM) firm Cegedim Dendrite has inked a deal with Microsoft in an effort to boost the effectiveness of its software offerings for its pharma marketing clients. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Under the agreement, Cegedim Dendrite gets rights to incorporate the Microsoft SQL Reporting Services, Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 programs into its CRM software. The additions will provide insights that will help guide pharma marketers more precisely in their promotional efforts, said Cegedim Dendrite VP, CRM solutions and analytics, Subash Vaid. “Our alliance with Microsoft will help companies turn massive amounts of data into extremely useful information,” Vaid explained.  
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