Five things for pharma marketers to know: Thursday, July 2

Biogen forms collaboration to develop treatments for eye diseases.
Biogen forms collaboration to develop treatments for eye diseases.

Biogen said it formed a collaboration with AGTC to develop gene-based therapies for several eye diseases, a new therapeutic category for the company. Biogen will pay AGTC $124 million upfront and the Gainesville, Fla.-based company is also eligible to receive up to $1 billion in milestone payments. AGTC has a clinical-stage candidate and a pre-clinical candidate for orphan diseases that affect the retina.

Novo Nordisk said it will stop selling Tresiba, its new insulin product, in Germany after failing to agree on a price with GKV-Spitzenverband, the German price-setting organization, Reuters reported. GKV had set the price for Tresiba at the same level of human insulin. The Danish drugmaker said the price undermines its ability to research and develop new products.

An oncologist did not disclose that he received $138,000 in consulting fees and travel pay from Celgene when he published a study in a scientific journal about Celgene's cancer drug Revlimid, according to Bloomberg Business. The payments are cited in the Open Payments database, which this week published all financial transactions from 2014. The oncologist told Bloomberg the omission was an oversight.

The switch to vaccine PCV13, called Prevnar 13 by its manufacturer, Pfizer, is expected to increase costs by $6.1 billion from 2010 to 2019 but will also provide net cost savings of $10.3 billion, a new study in Health Affairs found. The new vaccine for pneumococcal disease is more expensive than the older PCV7 vaccine. Further savings may be realized for uninsured patients, the study's researchers said.

More consolidation in the health insurance sector is underway as Centene announced Thursday a $63 billion cash-and-stock deal to acquire Health Net, according to The Wall Street Journal. Two other large insurers, Anthem and Cigna, continue to discuss a merger as they seek out new ways to cut costs and boost negotiating power.