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Pharma news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news affecting the industry

Wyeth keen on Pfizer OTC business
Wyeth has joined the race to buy Pfizer's consumer healthcare division, with analysts expecting it to make an offer before the next deadline on June 6. Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive are also thought to be interested in the OTC business, which is valued at around $14bn. ìWe are always open to evaluating opportunities to augment our existing businesses but we cannot comment on rumours regarding potential acquisitions or business transactions,î said a Wyeth spokesman. UK-based household and personal care group, Reckitt Benckiser, is also thought to be interested in the Pfizer unit.

Industry taskforce to look at TGN1412 disaster
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the BioIndustry Association (BIA) have set up a joint taskforce to assist an expert working group examining the TGN1412 clinical trial disaster at Northwick Park. The industry taskforce is co-chaired by Dr David Chiswell and Sir Colin Dollery and includes experts in immunology, biopharmaceutical development and clinical trials. ìAs a responsible industry we have brought together this group of world-class individuals with significant experience in the clinical development of innovative medicines,î said BIA chief executive, Aisling Burnand.

Takeda still big in Japan
Takeda remained the largest player in the Japanese pharmaceutical market after it enjoyed a 10.1 per cent rise in sales to 604 yen ($5.4bn) in 2005-6, according to IMS Japan. The firm's market share rose to 7.8 percent from 7.5 per cent a year ago. The figures were based on Japan's official drug prices or reimbursement prices by National Health Insurance. Earlier this month, Takeda said sales had been boosted by demand for its diabetes drug, Actos and hypertension treatment, Blopress. Astellas, the firm created from the merger of Yamanouchi and Fujisawa in April 2005, came second with a 7.3 per cent market share.

CAT profits up
AstraZeneca (AZ) bid target, Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), has made a first-half profit after tax of £4.6m, compared to a loss of £16.5m in the corresponding period a year ago. Much higher revenues of £27.7m at the biotech firm were mainly due to income from arthritis blockbuster Humira. Last year, CAT settled a row over royalties on Humira with its marketing partner Abbott Laboratories, entitling it to additional payments. AZ is set to buy CAT in a deal that values the business at £702m. The Anglo-Swedish firm, which already owns 19.2 per cent of CAT from a 2004 research deal, hopes to complete the acquisition by the end of June.

30th September 2008

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