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Two hepatitis C drugs win Prix Galien

Victrelis image
MSD's Victrelis was joint winner with Janssen's Incivo

Two new hepatitis C drugs have been given the 2012 UK Prix Galien innovative product award as joint winners in a ceremony at the House of Commons.

Janssen-Cilag’s Incivo (telaprevir) and MSD’s Victrelis (boceprevir) are each used to treat chronic forms of the disease and were picked from a shortlist of a dozen medicines.

NICE chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, who chaired the judges, said both were a perfect example of how the pharma industry can “demonstrate and justify its place in healthcare by innovating for change and showing real gains to the world”.

MSD joins forces with PatientsLikeMe for psoriasis

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PatientsLikeMe portal

MSD has teamed up with the online patient community site ‘PatientsLikeMe’ to gauge the impact of psoriasis on patients, whilst also looking to improve outcomes.

Under the agreement, PatientsLikeMe will work directly with Merck’s clinical researchers and epidemiologists to analyse psoriasis patient-reported data.

The site has an active community of psoriasis patients, where nearly 2,000 people share data and stories to reveal what it’s like to have the disease and what they do to treat it. Health profiles, forum postings and journal entries highlight their experiences.

UK drug pricing: ABPI wants evolution, not revolution

Published on 14/06/12 at 03:04pm
Deepak Khanna
Deepak Khanna - ABPI president


As the ABPI prepares to negotiate a new pricing scheme for the first time in 50 years, its new president tells InPharm that he wants to see evolution from the old system, not a revolution from the new.

Deepak Khanna, currently managing director of MSD in the UK, became the new ABPI president in April and has walked in at a crucial time for the industry in the UK.

He says the ABPI’s three main aims are: membership engagement; partnering with the NHS; and being at the table for the new drug pricing negotiations.

Two new hep C pills recommended by NICE

Victrelis picture
MSD's Victrelis

NICE has given its final recommendation for two new hepatitis C pills in an expedited review. 

Janssen’s Incivo (telaprevir) and MSD’s Victrelis (boceprevir), in combination with Roche’s injectable treatments Copegus and Pegasys, have both been recommended as options for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C in adults with compensated liver disease.

The drugs have bypassed the preliminary NICE stages and have been recommended months ahead of NICE’s normal schedule. 

Januvia gains renal impairment licence in UK

Merck’s Januvia has had its licence extended in the UK for patients with moderate to severe renal impairment.

The drug is already one of the biggest selling diabetes pills in the world, achieving global sales of $3.3 billion last year.

Januvia (sitagliptin) is the leader in the DPP-4 inhibitor class, a new generation of oral diabetes treatments.

Merck appoints new chief ethics and compliance officer

Published on: 30/03/12

Merck has announced the appointment of Michael Holston as chief ethics and compliance officer.

Holston is to succeed Richard Bowles, who is retiring from the company after more than 35 years with Merck and the former Schering-Plough. In his new role, Holston, 49, will report directly to Kenneth Frazier, Merck’s chairman and chief executive officer, and will serve on the company’s executive committee.

Merck facility reborn as science park

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Left to right: Malcolm Bateman, CEO Roslin BioCentre, Dr David Storey, MSD executive director, Scientific and Operational Strategy, Dr Glenn Crocker, CEO BioCity Nottingham, Louis Nisbet, chairman BioCity Scotland

A former Merck research site in Scotland has been given a new lease of life as a biotech science park.

The 23 acre site was closed last year as part of Merck Inc’s global R&D downsizing, but will now be taken over by BioCity Scotland, which aims to attract biotech and pharma start-ups.

The site in Newhouse, Lanarkshire is close to Scotland’s twin bioscience hubs Glasgow and Edinburgh, and comprises 130,000 sq ft of purpose built laboratories and office space. 

UK government drops Cervarix for Gardasil

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The UK government has performed a U-turn on its HPV vaccine programme by favouring Sanofi and MSD’s Gardasil over GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix.

Gardasil will now replace Cervarix from next September for the government’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme.

Around 70% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV and both vaccines focus on stopping this virus and in turn, lowering the risk of cervical cancer.

Merck's COPD drug rejected by NICE

Merck & Co

NICE has not recommended Merck Co’s Daxas and has advised the firm to conduct a clinical trial in order to generate more data.

In draft guidance NICE’s independent appraisal committee doubted that Daxas (roflumilast) reduces the rate of exacerbations as an add-on to triple or dual therapy for people with severe COPD.

MSD's Deepak Khanna to chair American Pharmaceutical Group

Published on: 17/03/11

Merck Sharp and Dohme’s UK managing director Deepak Khanna has been appointed chairman of the American Pharmaceutical Group.

The APG is a trade association for the seven largest US research-based biopharmaceutical companies operating in the UK - Abbott, Amgen, BMS, Janssen, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer.

Deepak said: “We are going through a period of almost unprecedented policy change in the UK, including major NHS structural reform, a new medicines’ pricing system and the Cancer Drugs Fund.

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