Product News from the 04/07/06 News Brief

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Astellas, Japan’s third-largest drug maker, has agreed to buy worldwide rights to Biogen Idec’s Amevive psoriasis drug for $60 million. As part of the deal, Astellas will also pay an undisclosed royalty rate to Biogen on Amevive sales.Amevive, which had $48.5 million in global sales last year, competes with Amgen’s Enbrel, which had $2.6 billion in global sales in 2005, and Genentech’s Raptiva, which had global sales of over $79 million. GlaxoSmithKline has acquired development and marketing rights to Kissei Pharmaceutical of Japan’s diabetes drug currently in clinical trials. GlaxoSmithKline will sell the drug called KGA except in Japan, South Korea and China, once the drug is developed. Kissei will receive undisclosed upfront and milestone payments for KGA. The drug is a selective inhibitor of glucose absorption in the intestines and improves hyperglycemia after meals. Valera Pharmaceuticals completed its acquisition of Valstar (valrubicin) in the US and Valtaxin in Canada, and expects to begin marketing the product in the US by the end of 2006. Valstar is a chemotherapeutic drug indicated for use as therapy by certain bladder cancer patients. Valstar was approved in the US and Canada in 1998 and 2000, respectively, but has been out of the marketplace since about 2002. The innovator company, Anthra Pharmaceuticals, ceased operations and exited the business, and Valstar has since been included in the FDA’s Drug Shortage Program, listing it among drugs, primarily of medical necessity, that are classified as in short supply or discontinued.
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