Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, June 10, 2016

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1. The head of the FDA's oncology department said too many drugmakers are developing the same type of cancer therapies. Many pharma companies have received FDA approval for drugs that utilize the patient's immune system, but Dr. Richard Pazdur said drugmakers should spend “those resources into looking at more novel drugs.” (Reuters)

2. Merck will acquire biotechnology company Afferent Pharmaceuticals for $500 million upfront, plus $750 million in milestones. Afferent's lead drug is being assessed for the treatment of refractory, chronic cough, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis with cough. (WSJ)

3. Colombia plans to unilaterally push Novartis to lower the price of its cancer drug Gleevec. Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria said lowering the cancer treatment's price is in the public interest of saving health dollars. (Stat)

4. GlaxoSmithKline is investing $50 million in bioelectronics through Action Potential Venture Capital. The British drugmaker formed a team of 30 scientists and is working with external developers to market a therapy for the nervous system in the next ten years. (Mass Device)

5. Aggressive chemotherapy combined with stem cell transplant can curb the development of multiple sclerosis, a study found. Twenty-three of the 24 patients in a study published in The Lancet had no relapses for up to 13 years, although one patient died. (BBC)

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