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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round up of R&D news in brief

GSK buys Pliva Research Institute
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to buy Pliva's Croatia-based macrolides research arm, the Pliva-Istrazivacki Institut. Under the terms of the agreement, Pliva will receive an upfront payment of $35m and milestone payments totalling up to $15m if certain clinical phases are reached. The transaction is expected to close during April 2006, subject to GSK obtaining regulatory approval. ìThis centre of excellence will strongly complement and enhance our specific expertise and commitment to the discovery of new chemical entities across several therapeutic areas through application of unique platform technologies,î said GSK senior vice president of drug discovery, Allan Baxter.

Call for more paediatric testing
Half of the drugs used to treat children and 90 per cent of drugs given to newborn babies in the European Union have never been tested or authorised for use in these age groups, according to a new UK report published last week. The subcommittee of the House of Lords European Union Committee, which produced the report, said it supported the European Commission's proposal to introduce a common EU-wide procedure for testing and approving drugs for use in children as well as incentives to encourage pharma firms to develop drugs for paediatric use. ìEthical considerations on the implementation of the rules need to be carefully considered, and the incentive mechanisms proposed are a leap of faith which will have to be examined rigorously after they have been tried out,î warned the subcommittee.

New AIDS drugs show promise
A new generation of drugs, called integrase inhibitors, targeting the HIV enzyme, integrase, which lets the virus merge with human DNA, have shown promise in two early studies. A Merck & Co study compared MK-0518, combined with a drug cocktail, to a placebo with a drug cocktail in multiple-drug-resistant virus and a history of treatment failure. In 80 patients who had 16 weeks of treatment, a majority of those taking the drug saw their virus levels drop to nearly undetectable levels. Compared with just 19 per cent on placebo. Meanwhile in an early study of Gilead's compound GS-9137, researchers said that 30 HIV patients taking the drug for 10 days experienced as much as a 99 per cent drop in virus.

30th September 2008

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