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THE ORPHAN DRUGS & RARE DISEASES CONFERENCE

Use of Genzyme's MS drug Lemtrada restricted under ongoing EMA safety review

The EMA has launched a review into Genzyme’s multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) after reports emerged of treatment-related safety issues arising from heart, blood vessel and immune-mediated conditions, some of which were fatal.

While the agency assesses the situation, it announced temporary advice that the drug “should only be started in adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis that is highly active despite treatment with at least two disease-modifying therapies or where other disease-modifying therapies cannot be used.

Genentech employee awarded $250,000 over racial discrimination case

A US jury has awarded a former Genentech employee nearly $250,000 after the black worker was fired from the firm after filing a racial-discrimination complaint against his manager.

Timothy Pruitt, 56, was fired from Genentech in 2017 after working at the company’s Vacaville offices for 21 years.

While Pruitt was fired over allegations that he had falsified timecards and stolen half a sandwich, the IT worker claimed the action came in retaliation after he submitted a discrimination complaint against his manager, Steve Graeff.

Insys Therapeutics names current CFO Andrew Long as company's new CEO

Insys Therapeutics has said Andrew Long will take over from Saeed Motahari as the company’s new CEO.

The opioid drugmaker said the decision had come after Motahari agreed to step down from the position of President and CEO.

The firm, who have faced legal issues over the marketing of their fentanyl based spray Subsys, have seen a series of successions in recent years after CEO Michael Babich was arrested in 2016.

Janssen's Invokana combo smashes primary and secondary endpoints in chronic kidney disease

Janssen has unveiled promising new Phase 3 for its sodium-glucose transport (SGLT) protein-2 inhibitor Invokana (canagliflozin), showing that the therapy met its primary endpoint in the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) when used in addition to standard of care.

In 4,401 participants with T2D or stage 2 or 3 CKD, the therapy reduced in the risk of progression to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), doubling of serum creatinine, and renal or cardiovascular (CV) death by 30%.

Half of patients have sub-optimal response to statins, research shows

Around half of patients who are prescribed statins do not see their cholesterol drop to desired levels within two years, according to research published in the journal Heart.

Guidelines from Britain’s cost effectiveness body NICE present a target of 40% reduction in low density lipoprotein cholesterol for patients using statins.

However new research shows 51% of patients had a sub-optimal response after 24 months of treatment

Medical cannabis: A green light for patients in need?

Published on 15/04/19 at 10:00am

Spinnaker Opportunities announced in February it had reached a preliminary agreement to acquire cannabis oil-focused research firm Kanabo Research and its growing portfolio of activities. Spinnaker Chairman Andy Morrison explains the move towards medical cannabis, and the opportunities and challenges ahead for healthcare as attitudes towards the drug slowly shift.

Can you provide a bit of background on Spinnaker?

Bayer VP elected to two of the firm’s executive committees

Published on: 12/04/19

Dr Monika Lessl has been appointed to Bayer Foundations’ executive committee, selected by the German pharmaceutical firm’s Board of Management to lead both the Bayer Science Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.

Her new leadership roles will be merged with her current responsibilities as Vice President, Head of Corporate Innovation and R&D at the firm.

Daiichi Sankyo name current COO Sunao Manabe as firm's new CEO

Published on: 12/04/19

Daiichi Sankyo have said Sunao Manabe, the company’s current COO will take over from George Nakayama as the firm’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Manabe, who joined Sankyo Co in 1978, has, since joining the firm, taken on roles of increasing seniority. The company veteran took on the position of President and COO in 2017.

The move from COO to CEO is a familiar pattern in Japanese firms mirrored in Takeda’s appointment of Frenchman Christophe Weber in 2014.

GW Pharma announce Darren Cline as company's new Chief Commercial Officer

Published on: 12/04/19

GW Pharmaceuticals have announced the appointment of Darren Cline as the company’s new US Chief Commercial Officer. Cline will lead the commercialisation of cannabidiol (CBD) based epilepsy medication Epidiolex in the United States.

Cline will succeed Julian Gangolli who announced he would be stepping down from his current role as President of GW Pharma’s US subsidiary, Greenwich Biosciences, in November 2018.

Cline is expected to start in his new role on 22 April 2019. Cline will however work with Gangolli for several weeks as he transitions into the organisation.

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