Business briefs: Abbott, Sunshine, Allergan and Watson
Ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is tired of waiting for CMS to tell manufacturers how to start collecting data, per the Sunshine Act provisions of the Affordable Care Act, on their contact with physicians. “I write today to express my disappointment that the administration continues to delay implementation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act,” the Iowan said in a letter to Chief of Staff Jacob Lew. “Unfortunately the final regulations are now more than 15 months overdue,” he wrote, and added that if the regulations are going to miss the now-January 24 deadline he wants the White House to explain why. Congress passed the Sunshine Act in 2010. It requires doctors and industry disclose their financial relationships.
Allergan is buying up biopharma MAP Pharmaceuticals. The company announced Wednesday that both boards have approved the merger. The two companies aren't strangers, having entered a co-promotion agreement in 2011 for MAP's experimental acute migraine treatment, Levadex. The New York Times said the buy-out will total $958 million. Levadex is expected to get its FDA review by April.
Watson is increasing its reach in Women's Health. The company announced Wednesday that it is buying up Uteron Pharma for $150 in cash, with up to $155 million in future milestone payments. “This transaction is a first step in fulfilling our promise to enhance our branded opportunities globally,” Fred Wilkinson, president of Watson Global Brands and Biosimilars, said in a statement. The purchase moves the experimental IUD Levosert under the Watson umbrella, along with Phase II contraceptive Estelle and others.
Phase III tests of Celgene's breast- and lung- cancer drug, Abraxane, “demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in overall survival” among metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. The open-label test included 861 metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. Patients taking the drug, along with gemcitabine, lived around 2 months longer than those receiving only gemcitabine. Celgene said in a statement it expects to file the drug with EU and US regulators for the pancreatic cancer indication in the first half of this year. Almost 38,000 peopled died from pancreatic cancer in 2012, and close to 44,000 were diagnosed, according to the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institues of Health. It is one of seven cancers that have seen an uptick in deaths between 1975 and 2009, despite an overall drop in the number of cancer-related deaths during that same period.