Five things for pharma marketers to know: Thursday, December 10, 2015

1. Sprout Pharmaceuticals CEO Cindy Whitehead stepped down from her role after Valeant announced in August it would acquire the drugmaker for $1 billion. There have been only 689 prescriptions for the company's low sexual desire pill, Addyi, since its approval in August, according to IMS Health. (Bloomberg Business)

2. The Senate Special Committee on Aging conducted a hearing on Wednesday to discuss dramatic price hikes on acquired drugs owned by Valeant and Turing. The hearing marked the first in a series of hearings that will continue in 2016. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said during the meeting that “dramatic price hikes are seemingly business as usual for Valeant.” (Reuters)

3. Novartis's recently approved heart-failure drug, Entresto, might increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and age-related macular degeneration, according to a viewpoint published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (JAMA)

4. Johnson & Johnson will form an independant surgical platform company with Verily Life Sciences—previously known as Google Life Sciences—dubbed Verb Surgical. The company will investigate the use of “robotic capabilities” and other medical device technology in operating rooms, according to a release.  

5. Eli Lilly and Merck said they will expand the immuno-oncology collaboration evaluating Merck's Keytruda and Lilly's investigational treatment, LY2835219. Lilly will sponsor a Phase-I study and any follow-up Phase-II studies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.