Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, June 29


Novartis's new injectable drug, Cosentyx, performed well in treating psoriatic arthritis, trial results published in the medical journal The Lancet show, Reuters reported. The positive results from treatment with the drug, given once a month, lasted more than a year, the trial found. Existing drugs used to treat the condition can lose effectiveness over time, making these latest findings significant, Reuters explained. “The global market for biological drugs in these diseases is around $12 billion to $13 billion and growing at a double-digit rate,” Vas Narasimhan, Novartis Pharma global head of development, told Reuters. “So when you look at the profile Cosentyx has demonstrated, we believe we can generate the data for this drug to be used as first-line treatment across these indications and achieve that sales level.”

Phone and electronics powerhouse Samsung Group has the pharmaceutical business in its sights as a next major growth area, Bloomberg reported. The Korean conglomerate is considering taking its Samsung Bioepis Co. public in the US. Samsung Bioepis develops biosimilars, lower-priced versions of brand-name biotechnology drugs that have lost patent protection. Samsung Group controls nearly 70 companies in areas ranging from electronics to finance, Bloomberg explained.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which finalized its $11-billion purchase of Salix Pharmaceuticals in mid-March, is hunting for another healthcare company, Forbes reported. Valeant has made an offer for Zoetis, a leader in animal healthcare that drugmaker Pfizer spun off in 2013, Forbes said. Valeant spent almost a year trying to buy Allergan, the maker of Botox. When that bid failed in late 2014, market watchers began speculating that Zoetis would be its next target, Forbes said. “At their current pace of acquisitions, drugmakers like Allergan and Valeant are poised to soon eclipse industry giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly and Bristol Myers in market cap, potentially giving new currency for even larger deals,” wrote Forbes. Valeant has received favorable ratings from several leading stock analysts recently, reported Dakota Financial News.

Vitae Pharmaceuticals has suffered its second setback of the year, announcing Monday that a new drug it was testing to treat type-2 diabetes in overweight patients did not meet its main goal in a mid-stage study. Vitae had been developing the new drug with German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH. The new drug, with the ungainly name of BI187004/VTP-34072, was being tested as an add-on therapy to metformin, a current diabetes drug, Reuters explained. “Primary efficacy data (fasting plasma glucose) from the metformin arm did not meet Boehringer Ingelheim's predefined endpoint criteria,” the company said in a release. “We are anxious to learn more about BI187004/VTP-34072 when the study is completed and fully analyzed,” said Dr. Richard Gregg, chief scientific officer of Vitae, in the company statement. Earlier this year the drugmaker placed trials of a new Alzheimer's drug on hold, Reuters reported.

AMAG Pharmaceuticals plans to spend $700 million to buy Cord Blood Registry, which it calls the world's largest stem cell collection and storage company serving pregnant women and their families, the Waltham, MA–based drugmaker announced Monday morning. “CBR owns a state-of-the-art storage facility that houses more than 600,000 preserved umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cell units, which represents more than half of all privately stored cord units in the US,” AMAG said in a statement announcing the deal. The acquisition follows another that AMAG made last November, when it spent $675 million for Lumara Health's maternal unit, Bloomberg Business reported.