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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round up of R&D news in brief

Amgen to pump £100m into European R&D
Amgen is to invest £100m in a new European Development Centre in Uxbridge, which it hopes will form a key part of its global R&D expansion.

The new site, which will be able to house more than 300 additional staff, will be geared towards developing drugs in areas such as cancer, bone health and inflammation.

ìThis expansion will almost double our current UK-based R&D capacity, creating new job opportunities in all aspects of drug development including clinical research, biostatistics, regulatory affairs, safety, data and project management, as well as in key support functions,î said Dr Jeremy Haigh, Amgen's European head of R&D.

Tamiflu effectiveness questioned in Lancet study
A study published in the Lancet has concluded that Roche's flu treatment Tamiflu and other antiviral drugs should not be used widely during the regular flu season because they are unlikely to help many patients with flu-like symptoms.

The authors of the study, which was funded by the UK Department of Health and the Piemonte region of Italy, said they found no ìcredible evidenceî that Tamiflu works effectively against avian flu.

Roche defended its product's efficacy against seasonal influenza, describing the conclusions of the study as ìinappropriateî.

sanofi-aventis stands by Ketek
sanofi-aventis has defended its antibiotic Ketek, after doctors linked it to severe liver failure in three patients, one of whom later died.

An article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by a team at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte also said one patient developed drug-induced hepatitis but later recovered.

ìThese cases could represent an unusual clustering of a rare, idiosyncratic drug reaction at one medical centre,î said John Hanson, one of the article's authors.

ìWith what we know now, we've concluded that these events do not alter the drug's safety profile,î said a sanofi-aventis spokesman, adding that the side effects were infrequent and that they were already mentioned in the prescribing information.

Ketek is sold in Europe, Japan and the US where the Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2004 to treat acute bacterial bronchitis, sinusitis and pneumonia.

30th September 2008

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