New boss at Pfizer 

Ian Read

US drug giant Pfizer has a new boss at the helm. Jeff Kindler has unexpectedly retired from the company after four and a half years as chief executive, citing the demanding nature of the job. The vacancy has been filled by Ian Read, who from 2006 headed the biopharmaceutical businesses. ‘The combination of meeting the requirements of our many stakeholders around the world, and the 24-7 nature of my responsibilities, has made this period extremely demanding on me personally,’ said Kindler. ‘I am excited at the opportunity to recharge my batteries, spend some rare time with my family and prepare for the next challenge in my career.’ 

Brilinta news

Blood thinner BriIinta (ticagrelor) from pharma major AstraZeneca has been approved in Europe for the prevention of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events in patients with coronary problems. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL

GSK welcome UK tax change

UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has responded to new UK government tax plans by promising to invest £500 million in manufacturing projects. The government will introduce a ‘patent box’ that will reduce the rate of corporation tax on profits generated from intellectual property (IP) in the hope that this will encourage investment in research and development. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL

Herceptin gets Nice nod

The UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has recommended Herceptin (trastuzumab) for the treatment of certain kinds of stomach cancer. The cancer drug, marketed by Roche subsidiary Genentech, has become widely used for the treatment of breast cancer. It is a monoclonal antibody designed to block the function of a protein with cancer-causing potential called human epidermal growth factor receptor two (HER2). In some cancer cells, there is too much HER2, which causes cells to grow and divide too rapidly. In January, the European Commission granted marketing approval to Herceptin for the treatment of stomach cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) followed suit in October. In 2009, sales of Herceptin increased 8 per cent to CHF5.3 billion (£3.4 billion) making it the third biggest seller at Roche behind Avastin (bevacizumab) and Rituxan (rituximab). (more…)

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We’ve had a look at some of the financial results for the third quarter of 2010 already. Here’s the rest of the data. (All percentage changes are based on the same period last year.)

PHARMACEUTICAL

AstraZeneca made sales of $7.9 billion (£5 billion), a 4 per cent decrease. Operating income decreased 25 per cent to $2.4 billion.

Bayer made sales of €8.6 billion (£7.3 billion), a 16 per cent increase. Operating income decreased 14 per cent to €560 million. (more…)

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 PHARMACEUTICAL

Job cuts at Roche…

Swiss pharma major Roche says it will cut 4800 jobs – 6 per cent of its global workforce – in 2011 and 2012. In addition, 800 jobs will be transferred within the organisation and 700 outsourced. The move comes as part of a cost cutting initiative that the company says will save it CHF 2.4 billion (£1.5 billion) annually. But the restructuring will cost Roche CHF 2.7 billion from 2010 to 2012. ‘The initiative is a response to mounting cost pressures in healthcare, particularly in the US and Europe, and to increasing hurdles for the approval and pricing of new medicines,’ the company says. As part of the plan, it will look to sell two US sites – in Florence, South Carolina, and Boulder, Colorado – and close one site in France.

…and Bayer

German pharma and chemical company Bayer is doing likewise, with plans to cut 4500 jobs worldwide by 2012. Meanwhile, 2500 new jobs are to be created ‘particularly in the emerging markets’ so that the net loss will be 2000, 1.8 per cent of the 108,700-strong total workforce. The move will save Bayer €800 million (£685 million) annually from 2013, it says, although a one-off cost of €1 billion is expected by 2012 to cover the restructuring. It adds that ‘sales and earnings are under pressure from generic products, rising development costs and the effects of health care reforms’. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL

HGS granted approval for Benlysta

An advisory committee of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended granting marketing approval for Benlysta (belimumab) for the treatment of lupus. Benlysta is a member of a new class of fully human monoclonal antibodies that inhibits B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLYS), a protein that facilitates the development of plasma B cells. In autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, plasma B cells produce antibodies that attack healthy tissue instead of unwanted antigens. The candidate is being developed by US biotech Human Genome Sciences and UK pharma major GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) under a 2006 agreement. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL 

BMS donates diabetes money

The charitable arm of pharma company Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, has said it will commit $100 million (£62 million) over the next five years as part of an initiative to help patients with type 2 diabetes with disease management. (more…)

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PHARMACEUTICAL

World pharma market to increase growth

The global pharma market will grow 5-7 per cent to $880 billion (£554 billion) in 2011, according to a report. This would be an improvement on the expected 2010 growth of just 4-5 per cent. According to the report from market intelligence company IMS Health the industry will rebound from the global economic downturn, but underlying problems, such as the impact of generic competition, will hamper the recovery.

Much of the market growth will be in the newly-wealthy developing countries. For example, IMS says the market in China – already the third largest – will grow 25-27 per cent to over $50 billion. The major limiting factor will be the expiration of key drug patents. In 2011, products with sales of more than $30 billion are expected to face the prospect of generic competition in the major developed markets, according to the report. Reduced government spending on drugs is also likely to have an effect. (more…)

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shellgasstation

While times are hard for BP as mentioned in the last edition of the Commercial Chemist, one of its biggest competitors, Shell, seems to be reaping the benefits.

Shell reports a 15 per cent increase in second quarter net profits to $4.39 billion (£2.82 billion) compared to $3.82 billion in the same quarter a year ago, which is a huge contrast to BP’s fortunes.

‘This is a good performance from Shell despite today’s challenging macro economic conditions. We are on track for growth,’ said Shell chief executive Peter Voser, who whilst offering his sympathy for all those affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill insisted that deep-water oil production was still vital.

Shell’s net profit, that takes into account the value of inventories of oil and gas, has soared to $4.21 billion in the last three months, whilst their cost saving programmes have led to $3.5 billion in annualised savings.

Shell investments have secured a 5 per cent increase – to 3.1 million barrels – in oil and gas production for the quarter and chemical product sales have increased by 18 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2009. (more…)

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