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Takeda opens R&D facility in San Diego, California

Japanese-firm Takeda pharmaceuticals has opened a new research facility in San Diego, California. The 165,000ft2 research centre will employ 250 staff.

The new facility will be focused on drug discovery in the areas of neuroscience and gastroenterology (GI).

The centre houses research platform groups across structural and computational biology, early target discovery and biologics for the advancement of potential molecules.

Takeda hopes the facility will supplement its R&D centres in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Shonan, Japan.

Janssen closes plant in California, 49 positions axed

Janssen are letting go of 49 employees due to the closure of their plant in Vacaville, California.

The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary took over the plant in 2001, after the healthcare conglomerate acquired the Palo Alto-based ALZA Corporation for $10.5 billion.

However the permanent closure will see 49 workers lose their jobs, as Janssen announced their decision to close the Vacaville facility. The firm said that the plant was no longer needed due to a shift in focus towards other areas.

Uninsured patients elibible for no-cost replacement of medicines lost in California wildfires

Uninsured citizens in California’s Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties will be eligible for a no-cost replacement of medicines lost in the highly destructive California wildfires that have ravaged the populous US state over the previous month.

The no-cost replacements, which will be funded by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP), will allow patients to obtain a 30 day supply of prescription medicines lost in the fires.

PhRMA launches lawsuit against the state of California over anti-price hike bill

The state of California has become the target of legal action after the lobbying group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) launched a lawsuit over a new law which requires drugmakers to notify the state and health insurers of increases to drug prices.

The law in question, California's Senate Bill 17, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October and is designed to provide greater transparency from manufacturers on potential price hikes, defined as an increase of more than 16% in two years.

California signs into law transparency over drug pricing

In a move that is guaranteed to result in further lawsuits and acrimony, California has signed into law a requirement for pharmaceutical companies to notify and explain any drug pricing increases above a certain threshold.

Proposition 61 defeated to allay changes on drug pricing

Another major piece of voting news emerged on 9 November, with Proposition 61 voted down by Californian residents, with the measure failing at 46% for and 54% against. Proposition 61 was introduced as a ballot measure to regulate prices of drug sales from drug makers. The measure would have forced the state to purchase drugs at the same price as that paid by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Bristol-Myers Squibb settle $30 million California kickback lawsuit

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has agreed to pay $30 million to the California Department of Insurance to settle an almost decade long litigation related to kickbacks paid by BMS to doctors in return for prescribing its medicines.

Three former employees filed a lawsuit in 2007 alleging that, between 1997 and 2003, the company used a variety of methods to induce physicians to prescribe their medicines. This included free meals, tickets to sporting events and tickets to the theatre. The state entered the lawsuit in 2011.

California hospital becomes first to prescribe digital pill

Proteus system
The technology includes the system that has been approved by the FDA

Proteus Digital Health, the first company to have a ‘digital pill’ approved by the FDA, has signed its first deal – to supply a similar medical technology to a hospital in California.

The deal, with US healthcare provider Barton Health, is the first signed in the US by the California based firm. In September its ingestible digital sensor was approved by the FDA in combination with Otsuka Pharma’s Abilify (aripiprazole), for adults with schizophrenia. 

BMS launches new fibrosis research collaboration

BMS image

Bristol-Myers Squibb is entering into an agreement with the California Institute for Biomedical Research to develop new treatments for fibrotic diseases.

BMS and the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr) have negotiated a worldwide research collaboration to develop small molecule anti-fibrotic therapies. The license agreement will allow the American company to develop, manufacture and sell any pre-clinical compounds that are then produced.

Gilead to shift plant and expand US manufacturing

Gilead Sciences will move its US manufacturing plant about 15 minutes down the road to a 23-acre site in the southern California city of La Verne that will employ 500 people.

Gilead’s facility of up to 400,000 square feet could replace a drug manufacturing plant in nearby San Dimas, according to local news reports in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Officials from the firm, which makes the major blockbuster hep C pill Sovaldi, have not yet formally announced the plans or given any more public information about the company’s potential move.

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