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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of R&D news in brief

Big step forward for personalised medicine?
Researchers from Imperial College London and US firm Pfizer say they have developed a new method that could make headway in personalised medicine by predicting how individual patients will respond to drug treatments. The research, published in the journal Nature, uses a combination of advanced chemical analysis and mathematical modelling to predict drug-induced responses in patients. Researchers believe that examining these patterns can help diagnose diseases, predict an individual's future illnesses, and their response to treatment. ìThe 'pharmaco-metabonomic' approach is able to account for genetic as well as many environmental factors, and other important contributors to individual health such as the gut microfloral activity,î said lead researcher, Professor Jeremy Nicholson. ìThese factors strongly influence how an individual absorbs and processes a drug and also influence their individual metabolism.î

SkyePharma and Endo halt Propofol IDD-DTM development
SkyePharma says it has agreed with US partner Endo to terminate joint development of Propofol IDD-DTM, an injectable anaesthetic and sedative that was licensed to Endo in December 2002. SkyePharma said it is ìevaluating its options worldwide for this product, which remains under strategic reviewî. Under the terms of the December 2002 agreement, SkyePharma would have been responsible for the cost of phase III development for Propofol IDD-DTM (estimated to be up to $30m) but could have received up to $45m in additional milestone payments if the product had gained US Food and Drug Administration approval. The drug successfully completed phase II trials in 2004. SkyePharma has assured investors that its agreement with Endo over DepodurTM, a sustained release injectable version of morphine for control of post-operative pain, is unaffected by the termination of Propofol IDD-DTM development.

Drug trial victims receive full interim payment
Six men who were hospitalised after a clinical trial for TeGenero's TGN1412 drug have received an interim payment of £10,000 from the German company's insurer. The insurer had offered to pay them only £5,000 each on the condition that they agreed not to sue for at least a year. However, following negotiations with lawyers, the insurer has agreed to pay the full amount without any conditions. Martyn Day of solicitors, Leigh Day & Co, who represents four of the volunteers, said: ìI am very pleased that we have been able to reach a sensible agreement with the insurance company that will enable our four clients to finance the coming few difficult months while we try and work out quite how bad is the cloud hanging over their heads following the drug trials.î

30th September 2008


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