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New Healthcare-related Products, Services, and Companies
inChord Communications Now inVentiv Communications
The transition marks the final step in the previously announced corporate rebranding of inVentiv Health Inc. As part of the inVentiv Health family, the range of solutions we can bring to our clients is even broader, says Blane Walter, inVentiv CEO. Changing our name to inVentiv Communications allows us to more clearly tell our story. inChord Communications, a division of inVentiv Health Inc. and one of the largest healthcare marketing communications organizations in the world, is now conducting business under the name inVentiv Communications. Before the acquisition of inChord Communications by inVentiv Health in October 2005, inChord had become the largest privately held healthcare communications company in the world. Today, the organization is one of three major divisions of inVentiv Health and accounts for about 35% of inVentiv’s total company revenue. “inVentiv Health has become more than just an industry leader,” says Blane Walter, CEO of inVentiv. “It is a powerhouse of best-in-class services with an ability to create integrated solutions that no other company can match.” Cardinal Health to Sell $1.8 Billion PtS Segment Cardinal Health plans to divest its pharmaceutical technologies and services (PTS) segment. The business manufactures or packages 100 billion doses of medication every year for pharmaceutical and biotech firms. It employs about 10,000 personnel at more than 30 facilities worldwide, and generates $1.8 billion in revenue. The decision was made to focus Cardinal Health’s capabilities and resources to better serve healthcare provider customers, such as hospitals and pharmacies. PTS is a contract manufacturing and service provider for the pharmaceutical industry. PTS develops and manufactures oral and sterile medication in nearly all dosage forms and holds patents for softgel and Zydis fast-dissolve technologies used in many popular prescription and OTC medicines. The company expects to use the proceeds to repurchase Cardinal Health shares. The company also will continue to invest in organic growth and tuck-in acquisitions to strengthen existing product and service offerings. “While synergies clearly exist between PTS and our other businesses, we believe there is greater customer and shareholder value in the expansion of our supply-chain and medical and clinical products businesses domestically and internationally,” says R. Kerry Clark, president and CEO of Cardinal Health. “These segments align with our core competencies and customers, and we see significant opportunities for future growth and improved return on capital.” Cardinal Health will retain Martindale and Beckloff Associates, two businesses that support the generic pharmaceutical market. Cardinal Health estimates that PTS as a stand-alone company, excluding Martindale and Beckloff, would generate in excess of $300 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. TagSource Forms New Company TagSource has launched RFID TagSource, its new company and a new Website. The release of the site is designed to introduce the company, as well as provide educational content and resources for the RFID end-user community. RFID TagSource has developed a new model for providing RFID tags and consulting services. By combining product sourcing, consulting, and services with an innovative Web platform, the company is able to greatly simplify the RFID tag procurement process. “A significant number of companies are facing RFID mandates and have little knowledge in this area,” says Kevin Donahue, cofounder and president of RFID TagSource. “We can help them learn from our experience and derive business value from their RFID deployment project.” RFID TagSource’s product and service offerings include: all types of RFID tags (active, semi-passive, passive, LF, HF, UHF, read only, read/write, WORM); RFID tag and placement testing; project planning and management; site and vendor inspection; RFID training and education; and RFID procurement outsourcing. Companies need help identifying the appropriate tag for their application, putting together an internal project team, selecting a reader platform, software, etc., and we help them speed through that process and minimize the disruption to their business, says Kevin Donahue, Cofounder and President of RFID TagSource. Merck Serono Is Launched Following the successful closing of the Share Purchase Agreement and the resolutions passed during the extraordinary general meeting of Serono SA, Merck KGaA officially has launched Merck Serono SA. According to Elmar Schnee, CEO of Merck Serono, the combined innovative power of these two strong companies provides a unique opportunity to create a superb union of pharmaceutical chemistry and biotechnology. “We want to use the best of both companies,” Mr. Schnee says. “A total of 28 projects in clinical development, a combined research and development budget of about EUR 1 billion, and the two key growth drivers — Erbitux for oncology and Rebif for the treatment of multiple sclerosis — give us the best foundations for a successful future.” Merck Serono is being managed as a subsidiary of Merck KGaA by a management team comprising: Mr. Schnee; Olaf Klinger, chief financial officer of Merck Serono; and Francois Naef, chief administrative officer of Merck Serono. What’s New on the Shelves The Road to Success, published by Academic Press, a division of Elsevier, is the follow-up to Alexander R. Margulis’ Be in Charge. It offers a guide for those who desire advancement to top positions in business and academia. The book discusses and presents advantages of progress, and it presents the inherent sacrifices to the individual and family in that pursuit. Essential dos and don’ts are included, as well as some hilarious items from the Internet. The book is illustrated with 14 cartoons by Tom Reese, a respected U.S. cartoonist. For more information, visit books.elsevier.com. Conducting Clinical Research: A Practical Guide for Physicians, Nurses, Study Coordinators, and Investigators, published by Mountainside MD Press, gives a unique perspective from both sides of clinical research, that of a volunteer and that of the doctor in charge. Author Judy Stone, M.D., emphasizes the elements that are critical for successfully establishing a clinical-research practice, including volunteer safety and investigator survival. She reveals the minefields to avoid when entering the field, summarizes the drug-development process, and describes the complexities of the multiple disciplines and people that need to come together to successfully bring a drug through trial, through FDA approval, and to market. The book details the best practices involved in carrying out a study, from landing the first study and negotiating with a drug company to recruiting and treating volunteers. Dr. Stone is an internist and infectious disease specialist, and she has had considerable experience landing and successfully conducting numerous Phase II and III clinical trials for a variety of infectious disease indications. For more information, visit conductingclinicalresearch.com. Guide to Biomolecular Simulations: Focus on Structural Biology Vol. 4, published by Springer, is a textbook designed as an introductory, self-contained course. The text provides both undergraduate and graduate students with training and specialized applications of in silico simulations in a wide variety of disciplines used within drug discovery and development, including biology, chemistry, biophysics, and biochemistry. Co-authored by Epix Pharmaceuticals’ Chief Scientific Officer Oren M. Becker, Ph.D., and Harvard University’s Professor Martin Karplus, Ph.D., the book provides the foundations for a new paradigm, which involves integrating computational methodologies with a number of scientific disciplines to quickly identify and optimize novel drug candidates. For more information, visit epixpharma.com. Zitter Group Offers Insights into Evolving Payer Market for Oncology The Zitter Group’s new managed care oncology index focuses on both payers and oncology practices, making it the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the major trends under way in the evolving payer market for oncology. The study offers pharmaceutical marketers insight into trends in physician reimbursement, product selection, practice profitability, patient access, and how managed care organizations plan to pursue oncology cost-cutting strategies. Recent events have dramatically changed the oncology marketplace: implementation of The Medicare Modernization Act, which altered payment methodology and provider incentives; imminent patent expirations for a number of important chemotherapies; and specialty pharmacy providers now offering oncology-specific services. The Oncology Index combines both a payer and a provider arm to track management priorities, coverage policies, access rules, and their impact on site of care, practice profitability, regimen selection, and drug use. The study consists of two key components: a Web-based survey of 100 top decision-makers in large national and important regional managed care plans and a similar survey of 100 oncology providers and practice managers. This two-armed approach provides a unique level of understanding about ongoing changes in oncology management. The large sample size ensures national representation and the ability to track key trends by payer and practice size and by geography. For reliable, rigorous quantitative results, The Zitter Group uses multiple analytic methods, including rank-order, Likert scales, and discrete-choice analysis. Open-ended, qualitative questions are used to supplement and enrich the understanding of market dynamics. The study will be conducted semiannually, with summer and winter editions. By subscribing to the Oncology Index, pharmaceutical company marketers can learn how changes in physician reimbursement and product sourcing will affect product use, site of care, and practice profitability. The Index provides insights as to how payers and providers will manage cytotoxics, antihormonals, and targeted therapies in the wake of patent expirations and ASP-based reimbursement. The Managed Care Oncology Index is an important tool for manufacturers, analysts, and healthcare executives who want to understand the implications these trends will have for product marketing and uptake. M&A Activity Abbott, Abbott Park, Ill., has acquired Kos Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cranbury, N.J., as a wholly owned subsidiary. The acquisition broadens Abbott’s portfolio of products for lipid management, the world’s largest pharmaceutical segment, and brings a rich pipeline of near- and mid-term opportunities in lipid management, diabetes care, and asthma. Kos is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and markets proprietary medications for the treatment of chronic cardiovascular, metabolic, and respiratory diseases. For more information, visit abbott.com. Forest Laboratories Inc., New York, a global pharmaceutical company, has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Cerexa Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Alameda, Calif., in a cash transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, Forest will acquire Cerexa for a total of $480 million. The company gains worldwide development and marketing rights (excluding Japan) to two injectable antibiotics and an option to a third, early-stage injectable antibiotic. Cerexa’s lead compound is ceftaroline acetate, which is entering Phase III studies. Ceftraoline acetate is a next-generation, broad-spectrum, hospital-based cephalosporin antibiotic that exhibits bactericidal activity against the most resistant strains of gram-positive bacteria. For more information, visit frx.com. Gilead Sciences Inc., Foster City, Calif., a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need, has completed its acquisition of Myogen Inc., Denver, which has two product candidates in late-stage clinical development: ambrisentan for the treatment of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and darusentan for the treatment of patients with resistant hypertension. For more information, visit gilead.com. Grey Healthcare Group, New York, a WPP company, has acquired Vogel Farina, Summit, N.J., a strategic marketing and communications company with significant expertise in specialty pharmaceutical markets, particularly oncology. The acquisition of Vogel Farina is part of Grey Healthcare’s drive to expand its specialty marketing footprint. Grey Healthcare now has several agencies specializing in biotech and specialty products. Vogel Farina will continue to be managed by copresidents Bob Vogel and Jeff Farina. In addition to oncology, Vogel Farina’s category expertise includes infectious disease, CNS, cardiovascular, diabetes, medical device, and diagnostic products. For more information, visit ghgroup.com. Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., has reached an agreement with Conor Medsystems Inc., Menlo Park, Calif., to acquire the cardiovascular device company for about $1.4 billion. The deal gives J&J subsidiary Cordis Corp. a unique controlled drug-delivery technology. The technology is currently employed on the CoStar Stent System, a paclitaxel-eluting cobalt chromium stent with a bioabsorbable polymer. The CoStar Stent is currently sold outside the United States; within the United States it is an investigational device limited by law to investigational use. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007. Conor Medsystems will operate as part of the Cordis franchise, a global leader in drug-eluting stents for the treatment of coronary artery disease. For more information, visit conormed.com or jnj.com. Around the Globe i3 continues global expansion i3, Basking Ridge, N.J., an Ingenix company that provides integrated scientific strategies and solutions throughout the pharmaceutical product life cycle, continues to expand through organic growth and acquisitions in India, Latin America, and Eastern and Western Europe. “Pharmaceutical companies want to expedite development and gain cost efficiencies through well-run trials that are completed on time and on budget,” says Glenn Bilawsky, CEO of i3. “Our expansion will help us accomplish those goals while still maintaining i3’s commitment to specialization and quality, which has become an industry hallmark.” The company has acquired one of Latin America’s largest, privately held contract research organizations, with operations in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. The newly acquired full-service CRO specializes in clinical research and professional outsourcing and has a wide range of medium-to-large pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. Expansion into India with a full-service office in Delhi provides clinical research and data services offerings for India-specific and global trials. A staffing solutions business meets the temporary staffing needs of pharmaceutical companies and provides recruiting and training support for i3 operations. i3’s new office in Poland supplements its existing presence and supports its rapidly growing resources in Central and Eastern Europe. The company is physically expanding its offices in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For more information, visit i3global.com. Invitrogen Opens first Supply Center in Singapore Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif., a provider of products and services that support academic and government research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide, recently opened a $1 million supply center in Singapore, the first of its kind in the world. The center offers a range of 300 different core life-sciences products and cell-culture systems. It is located at The Biopolis, a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, biomedical research hub in Singapore, which is currently home to more than 20 biotech and pharmaceutical companies and houses more than 1,200 researchers and scientists from around the world. Stocked with Invitrogen’s extensive line of life-science products and cell-culture systems, the center offers a range of 300 different core products, which would be further expanded in line with the researchers’ demands. Technical specialists are available onsite to help customers with their protocol queries and assist them in selecting the appropriate products. Alternatively, users can make use of Internet kiosk terminals to access Invitrogen’s eScience online tools and source for product information. For more information, visit invitrogen.com. Pharm-Olam International Opens Office in South Africa Pharm-Olam International Ltd., Houston, a multinational CRO offering a wide range of comprehensive clinical-research services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical-device industries, has opened a new office in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. South Africa has an estimated HIV/AIDS prevalence of 21% in a nation with more than 45 million people and the largest estimated population of people living with HIV/AIDS at 5.3 million. The company also has appointed Frans van Wyk as country manager for South Africa. With the addition of South Africa, and Pharm-Olam’s expansion into Brazil and Argentina earlier this year, the company now has 22 offices. For more information, visit pharmolam.com. RPS Expands Operations in Latin America ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services Inc., Plymouth Meeting, Pa., a privately held, employee-owned company that provides innovative and customized business process outsourcing solutions to assist pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies in the management and execution of their clinical drug-development programs, has expanded its operations in Latin America. In a continuing effort to broaden its global capabilities and achieve its strategic objectives, in addition to current operations in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, RPS is extending services to Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. “Our continued expansion in Latin America will allow us to further develop our global offering for our partners, while adding to the 35% plus growth we have experienced in 2006,” says Daniel M. Perlman, chairman and CEO of RPS. For more information, visit rpsweb.com. Follow up Cardinal Health, Dublin, Ohio, is a provider of products and services that help improve quality, safety, and efficiency all along the chain of care. For more information, visit cardinalhealth.com. inVentiv Health, Somerset, N.J.,can support a pharmaceutical product at any point in its life cycle through its three divisions: inVentiv Clinical, inVentiv Communications, and inVentiv Commercial. For more information, visit inventivhealth.com. Merck Serono SA, Geneva, Switzerland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck KGaA, focuses on the therapeutic areas of oncology, neurology, and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. For more information, visit merckserono.ch. RFID TagSource, Camden, N.J., is a full-service provider of RFID tags and consulting services. For more information, visit rfidtagsource.com. The Zitter Group, Milburn, N.J., is a developer of strategic solutions for managed markets for biopharmaceutical companies. For more information, visit zitter.com.