Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, April 20


Teva may be weighing a Mylan buyout, according to Bloomberg News. The news service reported that the Israeli generic giant is exploring a takeover of Mylan. The drugmaker has yet to make a formal offer but Mylan recently set up a “mechanism under Dutch securities law that could make the takeover more difficult,” according to Bloomberg. Mylan stated it's committed to a recent deal to acquire Perrigo and is not interested in a sale to Teva.

Merck unveiled new data from its PD-1 cancer therapy, Keytruda, in melanoma patients. The Phase-III trial found that 74% of patients, who received Keytruda every two weeks, and 68% of those who received it every three weeks survived compared to 58% who took Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy, the current standard of care, according to Medscape. The drugmaker reported the results at the annual meeting for the American Association for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

Bristol-Myers Squibb presented new data for its immunotherapy cancer treatment, Opdivo, at the meeting. The Princeton, NJ–based drugmaker offered up new data about Opdivo and Yervoy to AACR attendees, saying the combination therapy shrank melanoma tumors in 59% of patients. In the 142-patient trial, BMS reported that 22% had a complete response to the therapy, meaning there was no detectable presence of any cancer, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Abuse of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications may follow graduates into the workforce, according to The New York Times. Dr. Kimberly Dennis, a medical director for a substance-abuse treatment facility for women near Chicago, said, “You'd see addiction in students, but it was pretty rare to see it in an adult. We are definitely seeing more than one year, more than years ago, especially in the age range of 25 to 45.” Use of ADHD medication in American adults rose 53% from 2008 to 2012, according to Express Scripts. A Texas lawyer, who abused the medication and was eventually taking up to 100mg (double the highest dose recommended) over a day's time, told the Times, “It's a crutch, and it becomes a crutch immediately.”

Merck and Pfizer initiated a Phase-III clinical trial evaluating avelumab (MSB0010718C) in patients with stage IIIb/IV non-small cell lung cancer with treatment-resistant disease progression. The trial will evaluate overall survival in an estimated 650 patients. The companies plan to collaborate on up to 20 immuno-oncology clinical development programs, most of which are expected to begin this year.


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