Roche Unit Didn't Follow Procedures To Prevent Drug Contamination; Galena Presents Positive NeuVax Clinical Results Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 04 November 2011 19:27
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on November 4, 2011.

The FDA inspectors said Roche Holding AG's (PINK:RHHBY) Genentech unit didn't follow proper procedures designed to prevent contamination of drugs such as Avastin.

The FDA released an inspection report Friday dated Sept. 27 involving a plant in Alameda, Calif., that makes the cancer drug Avastin. Parts of the report were blacked out. However, much of the report discussed problems related to caps used to cover the Avastin vials and the capping process.

The report said the company found particles in some Avastin vials, which were sent for analysis. The company also found a problem with disintegrating gaskets. But the FDA said the company didn't compare the particles in the Avastin vials with the disintegrating gasket material "in order to rule out potential...contamination of this lot." The FDA said the vials in question were quarantined and it doesn't appear any of the product was released. It wasn't clear from the FDA's inspection report if the two problems were related.

In the report, the FDA said the Avastin caps are made by a contract manufacturer. The caps are shipped inside folded, non-sealed plastic bags inside a cardboard box. FDA said there are no data or controls to assure that the manner in which the caps are shipped doesn't affect "cap integrity" or prevent contamination.

There also appeared to be a separate problem with an oil leak in a machine that caps the Avastin vials. The company stopped production to fix the problem, but the FDA said it wasn't documented that the problem was fixed before production was resumed. The agency also said the company's report about the problem didn't state what happened to the Avastin vials that were on the manufacturing line during the shutdown and repair period.

Genentech couldn't immediately comment on the inspection report. Such reports list observations found during FDA inspections but they don't represent a determination about whether a manufacturer has violated FDA manufacturing rules.


Galena Biopharma Inc., (NASDAQ:GALE), announced positive data from Phase 2 clinical trials of NeuVax was presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer.

The Phase 2 trials evaluated the NeuVax (the HER2-derived E75 peptide) vaccine in breast cancer patients in the adjuvant setting. The results suggested that patients with less aggressive disease traits may derive greater clinical benefit from vaccination and have lower rates of breast cancer recurrence. These included vaccinated patients with node negative disease, lower levels of HER2 expression, lower grade tumors, hormone receptor positivity, or lower Adjuvant! Online scores.

This analysis is part of the continued focus on the targeting of active cancer immunotherapies to patients with a lower bioburden of disease. This strategy is the cornerstone of the development strategy for NeuVax, and represents a potent pathway for the development of the next generation of cancer vaccines.

Also Friday:

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOR) today announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2011.

AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAG) today reported unaudited consolidated financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2011.

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) announced today the European launch of NUMETA (emulsion for infusion).

Privately held biotechnology company Quanticel Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG), together with Versant Ventures, today announced they have entered into an exclusive, strategic collaboration to discover and develop first-in-class cancer drugs.

Digirad Corporation (NASDAQ: DRAD) today reported 2011 third quarter revenue of $13.4 million, 2011 nine-month revenue of $41.9 million and an ending cash and available-for-sale securities balance of $31.6 million at September 30, 2011.

GTx, Inc. (Nasdaq: GTXI) today reported financial results for the thirdquarter of 2011.

Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: HGSI) announced today that several abstracts related to BENLYSTA® (belimumab) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/ Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, being held in Chicago, IL from November 4 to November 9, 2011.

Inhibitex, Inc. (NASDAQ:INHX) today announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2011 and provided an update on several recent corporate developments, including top-line safety and antiviral data from the first cohort in its ongoing clinical trial designed to evaluate higher doses of INX-189, an oral nucleotide polymerase inhibitor, being developed to treat chronic infections caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV), administered as monotherapy or in combination with ribavirin for seven days.

Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSIR), the leading stem cell company focused on developing and marketing products to treat medical conditions in inflammatory and cardiovascular disease areas and wound healing, announced today its results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2011.

Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: RNN), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company commercializing potential best in class oncology and CNS therapeutics, today announced results from its Phase IIb clinical trial of Serdaxin® in major depressive disorder (MDD).

Rosetta Genomics, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ROSG), a leading developer and provider of microRNA-based molecular diagnostics, announces that results from a joint study by researchers at the Institutes of Oncology, Davidoff Center, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Hospital and Golda-Hasharon Hospital in Petach-Tikva, Israel show that in post-resection gastric cancer patients microRNAs may serve to predict the risk of recurrence.

Salix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SLXP) today announced that the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (The Liver Meeting® 2011), being held in San Francisco, CA, November 4-8, 2011, should be an important venue for ongoing discussion of complications associated with chronic liver disease, including overt hepatic encephalopathy, or OHE.

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