Melt-in-the-mouth ED treatment

Bayer Healthcare has launched the first melt-in-the-mouth erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment in the UK. The 10mg Levitra (vardenafil) tablet dissolves on the tongue without the need of water, has a minty flavour and comes in discreet packaging.

In contrast to other ED treatments, these tablets have been designed to be discreet and convenient and are packaged in a pocket-sized box.

Currently, an estimated 2.3 million men in the UK suffer from ED, but only one in ten receive treatment. ‘Levitra orodispersible was developed to help remove the known barriers associated with erectile dysfunction medication by providing men with a more convenient and discreet treatment,’ said Marc van Unen, business unit head of general medicine at Bayer Healthcare. ‘It is hoped that ultimately, the advantages of the new product and its discreet packaging, which includes 120 anti-counterfeiting measures, will reduce the growing numbers of patients purchasing counterfeit pills online,’ he added.

The new formulation was approved by the European Commission in September 2010 and is the first and only ED medication to be available in this convenient orodispensible form.

Bayer sows seeds

Bayer CropScience (CS) has announced an agreement to purchase Hornbeck Seed Company (HBK), a privately owned seed business based in DeWiitt, Arkansas, in the US.

HBK supplies soybean, rice and wheat varieties to the southern US market. Bayer CS will acquire the seed businesses and gain access to quality soybean germplasm for future variety and trait development. In addition, Bayer CS will gain new talent and expertise in soybean breeding and licensinf, as well as in soybean, rice and wheat seed production.

Financial details on the deal have not been disclosed.

Cost-effective thrombin inhibitor

Dabigatran etexilate, an oral direct thrombin inhibitor, used to prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF) is cost-effective compared with current treatments, according to a new economic analysis published online in Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

The Boehringer Ingelheim product was shown to be cost-effective because it showed superior prevention of ischemic stroke alongside a reduction in devastating intracranial bleeding compared to warfarin in patients with AF. Dabigatran etexilate saved CA$4,783 (£3052) on average per patient for prevention of events, such as stroke and associated follow-on costs.

‘We want to do the best for patients and dabigatran is the medically preferred treatment for stroke prevention. From the analyses reported today, we now know that it is cost-effective too,’ said Stuart Connolly, principal investigator of the RE-LY dabigatran clinical trial and co-author of the economic evaluation.

AkzoNobel boosts growth in China

Chemical company, AkzoNobel is to invest €60 million (£53 million) in boosting production of its Bermocoll cellulose derivatives (paint and building material thickeners), providing additional momentum for the company’s accelerated growth strategy, which includes doubling revenue in China to $3 billion (£1.9 billion) by 2015.

The investment includes building a new facility at its Ningbo multi site in China and debottlenecking the existing manufacturing site in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. It is hoped the two projects will increase capacity to 40,000 tonnes per year and make AkzoNobel a global leader in the area.

UK budget response

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has responded positively to the UK budget and growth review. The ABPI believes the budget contains promising developments for the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and shows a real response to the challenges the industry faces.

The ABPI applauded the governments’ decision to strip bureaucracy around clinical trials and the decision to review the NHS approach to the adoption of new medicines.

The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has also responded favourably to the budget, welcoming measures such as recognition that the UK is in international competition for business investment. But the CIA also said the failure to consider cumulative costs of energy policies will reduce competitiveness and threaten British jobs.

Steve Elliott, chief executive of the CIA said: ‘Many aspects of the chancellor’s announcement will meet business support, but for a large number of companies the cost of energy policies will remain a significant barrier.’

Mike Brown

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