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Pharma news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news affecting the industry

Novartis ups Chiron bid
Novartis has raised its bid to buy out vaccine group Chiron, winning over two large investors who had previously been opposed to the deal. CAM North America and ValueAct, who control 17 per cent of the California-based company, have stated that they intend to vote in favour of the revised offer. Novartis, which already has a 44 per cent stake in Chiron, has offered $5.4bn ($48 a share) up from its September 2005 offer of $40 a share. Analysts said buying Chiron will give Novartis greater exposure to vaccines, an increasingly important market.

FTC study into branded generics
The US Federal Trade Commission is planning a study on the competitive effects of pharma companies' increasing use of `authorised generics', generic versions of their own drugs to stave off generic competitors. The move is a sign of the US government's concerns over the way firms seek to delay generic competition and end patent challenges by generics firms. The FTC has appealed to the US Supreme Court to hear a case it lost last year over the penalty it meted out to Schering-Plough for its settlement to delay a generic rival to one of its drugs.

Erbitux gets EU approval for head and neck cancer
The European Commission has granted marketing authorisation to Merck KGaA to extend the use of cancer drug Erbitux, in combination with radiotherapy, for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer. The drug will be available for the new indication in all 25 European member states as well as Iceland and Norway. ìErbitux offers the potential for improved control and extended survival even in severe disease,î said Dr James Bonner, from the University of Alabama.

30th September 2008

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