Eli Lilly to Focus on Cancer, Diabetes in China; Pfizer’s Rheumatoid Arthritis Pill: Not A Slam Dunk Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 18:58
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on March 20, 2012.

Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) will introduce more than a dozen products in China, including drugs for diabetes and cancer, in the next five years to help maintain sales growth, Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter said.

“Our goal is to be the fastest growing pharmaceutical company in China,” Lechleiter told reporters at a briefing in Beijing today. “We are increasing our investments in every aspect of our business,” he said.

Lilly’s Chinese sales grew by 25 percent last year, faster than the industry average, after the Indianapolis-based drugmaker doubled its sales force in the Asian country over a three-year period, according to Lechleiter. The 58-year-old executive plans to raise Lilly’s share of revenue from China to more than 2 percent by focusing on “unmet needs.”

As diabetes rates soar in China, Lilly is competing with drugmakers including Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) and Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) to try and unseat Bayer AG and Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE:NVO) as the biggest providers of diabetes medicines. At stake is a market that may triple to $2.1 billion in annual sales by 2019 from $700 million in 2009, according to Yifi Liu, an analyst for Datamonitor in Shanghai.

Diabetes treatments were probably the main driver of Lilly’s 31 percent growth in third-quarter sales in China, Lechleiter said in November.


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For the past couple of years, Wall Street has bet a forthcoming Pfizer  (NYSE:PFE) treatment for rheumatoid arthritis called tofacitinib will become a blockbuster and, crucially, help the drugmaker overcome the arrival of generic competition to several of its biggest selling meds. Why are investors so keen about tofacitinib? The drug would become the first oral biologic for treating this particular affliction.

To be more specific, recent data indicated the Pfizer pill would offer similar efficacy to a group of injectable meds - notably Humira, which is sold by Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) - that collectively generate some $13 billion annually for treating rheumatoid arthritis alone. A pill, however, is more convenient, suggesting Pfizer can charge a premium and eventually generate some $1.5 billion in annual sales, according to some estimates.

Such talk conjures up images of an endless stream of ringing registers. But what do payers and rheumatologists think? When offered tofacitinib data, they are having what might be called a show-me moment. To be specific, a new survey finds that 55 percent of these doctors say the Pfizer pill would not replace a med they are currently prescribing. And 96 percent of the payers say tofacitinib would not replace a drug that is currently offered in their plans.



Also Tuesday:



Abiomed Inc. (NASDAQ: ABMD)
, a leading provider of breakthrough heart support technologies, today announced its schedule of events at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2012 Scientific Sessions in Chicago, IL.

ActiveCare, Inc. (OTCBB: ACAR)
, the service leader in telehealth and personal emergency response, today announced that ActiveCare has obtained a contract with approximately 1,300 members through its wholly owned subsidiary 4G Biometrics.

Advaxis, Inc., (OTCBB: ADXS)
, a leader in developing the next generation of immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases, announced it will continue its collaboration with Dr. Samir N. Khleif, the former Chief of the Vaccines Section at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), at his new position of Director of the Georgia Health Sciences University Cancer Center at Augusta, Georgia.

AmbiCom Holdings, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: ABHI) (OTCQB: ABHI)
, a leading designer and developer of wireless products for the medical industry, today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary E-Care USA has signed a distribution agreement with Soladey International Ltd. to distribute Soladey Solar Toothbrushes and refills in North America.

ARCA biopharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: ABIO)
, a biopharmaceutical company developing genetically-targeted therapies for atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases, announced today that a Gencaro (bucindolol hydrochloride) abstract has been selected for moderated poster presentation at the American College of Cardiology 61st Annual Scientific Sessions & Expo, being held March 24-27, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.

BioSante Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: BPAX) announced today that data from studies of the Pill-Plus “triple component” oral contraceptive were presented on March 10, 2012 by Pantarhei Bioscience at the World Congress of Gynecological Endocrinology in Florence, Italy.

Covidien (NYSE: COV), a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted 510(k) clearance to the Company to market the Covidien Nellcor™ Respiration Rate Version 1.0 software and the Adult Respiratory Sensor.

In honor of the first ever HAE Day upcoming on May 16, 2012, Dyax Corp. (NASDAQ: DYAX), the manufacturer of KALBITOR® (ecallantide) for the treatment of acute attacks of HAE in patients 16 years of age and older, announced a donation of $17,700 to the United States Hereditary Angioedema Association (HAEA), the largest Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) patient group in the world.

Enzo Biochem Inc. (NYSE: ENZ) announced today an expanded business arrangement between its wholly owned subsidiary, Enzo Life Sciences, and Tokyo-based Cosmo Bio Co., Ltd. (JASDAQ: 3386).

Lightlake Therapeutics Inc. (OTCBB: LLTP), an early stage biopharmaceutical company developing modern addiction treatments based on its expertise using opioid antagonists, announced today that the last patient involved in the Phase II Trial of the Company's proprietary treatment for Binge Eating Disorder is scheduled to be seen on March 27th, with the statistical analysis of the results of the Trial taking place thereafter.

Medical tourism facilitator Global Health Voyager (OTCBB: GLHV) has announced a new data partnership to provide medical tourists with HIPPA-compliant records storage.

International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB: ISCO)
(www.internationalstemcell.com) today announced year-end financial results for the year ended December 31, 2011.

Monar International Inc. (OTCBB:MNAI)
, today announced that it has initiated a new business strategy which it believes will significantly increase the scale and profitability of its China business activities and will enhance shareholder value.

NovaDel Pharma Inc. (OTC BB: NVDL)
today reported unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2011.

Obagi Medical Products, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMPI)
, a leader in topical aesthetic and therapeutic skin health systems, released the results of three new studies this weekend at the American Academy of Dermatology meeting in San Diego, CA.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTCBB: ORMP)
(www.oramed.com), a developer of oral drug delivery systems, announced today that its work entitled "Decreased CRP levels in response to a six-week, once-daily oral insulin regimen" will be presented at the XVI International Symposium on Atherosclerosis (ISA2012) on March 25-29, 2012, to be held in Sydney, Australia.

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc (Nasdaq: PCRX)
today announced that financial results for the company's fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2011, will be released before the market opens on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

The PCR Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meridian Bioscience, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIVO), was founded in London, UK in 1992 by Marco Calzavara, President of Meridian Bioscience Europe.

Pernix Therapeutics Holdings, Inc. (NYSE Amex: PTX)
, a specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced that it will release its fourth quarter and full year 2011 financial results before the U.S. stock market opens on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 and has scheduled a conference call at 9:00 am EST that day to discuss the financial results.

RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: RGRX)
reported on data presented at the Third International Symposium on Thymosins in Health and Disease in Washington, D.C.

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY)
today announced that it filed its definitive proxy statement and sent a letter to shareholders of Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) urging them to tender their shares into Roche’s offer and vote for Roche’s independent director nominees and other proposals at the 2012 Illumina annual meeting to be held on 18 April 2012.

Syneron Medical Ltd. (NASDAQ: ELOS)
, the leading global aesthetic device company, announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary Light Instruments Ltd. ("Light") has initiated a voluntary field action regarding LiteTouch dental laser systems installed at customers' sites in Europe.

Syneron Medical Ltd. (NASDAQ: ELOS)
, the leading global aesthetic device company, announced today that it made an equity investment in Juvenis, an Israel-based company focused on commercializing advanced biopolymer compounds for use in aesthetic tissue augmentation. Juvenis' first product under development is Tenergel™, a unique dermal filler initially intended for use in high-volume aesthetic applications and body contouring procedures.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO)
, the world leader in serving science, today announced that it has appointed David M. Sabatini, MD, PhD, to its Scientific Advisory Board.

Transgenomic, Inc. (OTCBB: TBIO) today announced that it has begun a collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to evaluate the use of the Company’s very high sensitivity ICE COLD-PCR mutation detection technology in analysis of DNA isolated from circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood samples from patients with advanced cancer.

Verisante Technology, Inc. (TSX VENTURE:VRS) (OTCQX:VRSEF) (PINKSHEETS:VRSEF) (FRANKFURT:V3T)
, a leader in cancer detection technology, announced today that the results of the statistical analysis completed by researchers at Vancouver General Hospital ("VGH"), the BC Cancer Agency ("BCCA"), and the University of British Columbia ("UBC") on data from a clinical study of the Verisante Aura™, have been accepted for publication by Cancer Research, a peer reviewed journal of the American Association of Cancer Research ("AACR").

Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (NASDAQ: WAG)
will release its fiscal 2012 second quarter earnings results at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, March 27, followed by a conference call with Walgreens management beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.



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