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Celgene bring in new CFO to steady the ship

The fact that Celgene is currently sailing through choppy waters is no secret to anyone within the industry, it’s facing serious questions over its pipeline and major worries about its lead candidate, ozanimod.

Behind this drama has been a steadily revolving door of executive exits from the company, as it attempts to display to its shareholders that it is taking a fresh approach to business. It needs to demonstrate this if it is to shore up its share price, which is significantly down from where it stood in October last year ($146 down to $79, at present).

Bayer eyes R&D cuts, as Monsanto deal raises question of focus

When rumours first started rumbling about a mega-merger between Bayer and Monsanto, one of the major question marks was on how this would impact the pharmaceutical side of Bayer’s business.

Now that the merger is nearing completion, the answers should begin to trickle out based on decisions subsequently made and Bayer’s restructure plan for its R&D operations in pharma might well be one of the actions that raises this question again.

Roche resigns itself to failure on SMA drug

Roche has announced that it will no longer seek to develop its treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), olesoxime, after encountering too many difficulties in bringing it through to patients.

The treatment was originally picked up from Trophos in early 2015, in a deal that cost the company $139 million up-front and also had a further $406 million locked into milestones.

Novartis’ US Oncology head makes leap to become biotech CEO

The departure of high-level, big pharma executives to tiny biotechs is steadily becoming a constant stream; the latest is Bill Hinshaw, former Executive Vice President of US Oncology at Novartis, who exits the company to head to Axcella Health, becoming its CEO.

Hinshaw has worked for a number of years at Novartis, joining back in 2003, and now teaming up again with David Epstein, who became Chairman at the biotech at the beginning of this year after also holding a high-level position at Novartis.

Staff shortfall leads to massive deficit for NHS

The headline figure is that the NHS budget deficit for the year 2017/2018 came in at £960 million, close to double the £496 million that had been planned for the service.

Though NHS Improvement, the body that released the service’s financials, pointed to acute sector as the main cause for the deficit, the root of it can be put down to staff shortages.

NHS Improvement revealed that the NHS is faced with 92,694 staff vacancies, a vacancy rate of 8%, which means that this gap has to be plugged on a daily basis.

Allergan aims to appease investors with non-core units sell off

Allergan’s share price has been on a steady downward trajectory for the last year and investors are becoming increasingly frustrated with the drugmaker’s attempts to turn it around.

In its latest efforts to keep investors happy, Allergan has announced that it plans to trim down its business by divesting its women’s health and infectious diseases unit.

Analysts have estimated that its women’s health unit could be worth between $3 billion and $4 billion, while the infectious disease area could generate $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

FDA approval for TherapeuticsMD, one year after initial rejection

TherapeuticsMD has succeeded in changing the FDA’s mind on its Imvexxy product, after an initial rejection in May of last year turned into an approval second-time round.

Imvexxy is a treatment for moderate-to-severe dyspareunia, a symptom of vulvar and vaginal atrophy, as a result of menopause, that leads to pain during sex.

The FDA had originally turned the treatment away, after asking for a greater scope of safety data with a 12-month trial instead of the 12-week program TherapeuticsMD had initially offered.

AZ’s hopes for Fasenra in COPD suffer terminal blow

It looked unlikely that Fasenra would achieve success in the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) area, after it suffered in trial results released earlier this month.

AstraZeneca has now released the results from the second trial into the area and they only confirm the company’s fears, the treatment is a dud for COPD.

The short press release simply states that the trial did not meet its primary endpoint of reducing exacerbations and, perhaps coming as no surprise, would not be pursuing a regulatory submission any time soon.

NHS England uses £10m fund to retain GPs

On the day that news broke, through Pulse, that over a million patients have had to move GP surgery in the last five years due to closures, NHS England released £10 million in funds to try to retain more GPs within the service.

£7 million of the funding will go directly into regional schemes to encourage GPs to stay at local practices and to offer support through the ‘GP Retention Scheme’ that was launched in 2017.

Head of Sandoz UK becomes BGMA chair

Tim de Gavre has been announced as the new chair for the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA), a position he will now retain for the next two years.

De Gavre will join the leadership team of the association after having worked as the chair for British Biosimilar Association since its foundation in 2016.

The BGMA is a membership organisation representing UK based manufacturers and suppliers of generic medicine, with a backing that represents 90% of the total UK generics market.

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