Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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Activist investor Carl Icahn (pictured above) has sent an open letter to fellow Cigna shareholders asking them to block the company's $54 billion planned acquisition of Express Scripts. Icahn wrote that Cigna is “dramatically overpaying for a highly challenged Express Scripts that is facing existential risks on several fronts.” (Wall Street Journal)

The FDA is changing the way it evaluates opioid addiction treatments, expanding the examined criteria to include whether a treatment reduces overdose rates and infectious disease transmissions as well as opioid use. There are only three drugs approved to treat opioid addiction: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. (STAT)

Spark Therapeutics' shares plummeted in pre-market trading on Tuesday after it reported data from a Phase I/II study of its hemophilia A program. While the gene therapy reduced bleeds and the need for therapeutic infusions by 97% in a trial of 12 patients, two patients had an immune response that caused their levels of the protein important in hemophilia to drop below 5%, requiring on-demand treatment. (CNBC)

Amarin is poised for huge gains should results from its seven-year Vascepa trial come back positive, according to analysts. The drug has been approved to lower triglycerides, but positive data could expand that indication to include prevention of cardiovascular events. (MM&M)

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley has named Iain Mackay as CFO. Mackay, who is planning to leave HSBC at the end of this year, is set to replace Simon Dingemans in early 2019 as CFO designate. (Reuters)

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