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R&D news in brief

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

AZ announces $100m Chinese R&D investment
AstraZeenca (AZ) is investing $100m in a new research centre in China, the latest pharma firm to grab a strong foothold in the country's burgeoning research community. The centre, which will most likely be based in Shanghai, will focus on translational science by developing knowledge about Chinese patients, biomarkers and genetics. The initial therapeutic area will be cancer, a major cause of death in the country. In addition, AZ said it would expand its clinical research capabilities and was looking to increase the number of scientific collaborations with local Chinese organisations. The Anglo-Swedish firm recently signed a deal worth $14m with Wuxi Pharmatech for Compound Collection Synthesis.

Humira maintains remission
Patients with moderate to severely active Crohn's disease were more likely to maintain clinical remission for a year if they took Abbott's Humira than patients receiving a placebo, according to a new study. Crohn's disease is the fourth of six autoimmune diseases targeted for Humira therapy. The company stated that the data from CHARM, the Crohn's trial of the fully Human antibody Adalimumab for Remission Maintenance, showed that remission rates were maintained through 56 weeks in patients who demonstrated response to HUMIRA during a four-week open-label induction phase. Clinical remission was measured by a decrease in the Crohn's Disease Activity Index. Abbott noted that additional data from the study evaluated discontinuation of steroid use and fistula closure.

Bayer drug shows promise
An experimental Bayer drug could offer patients with haemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency) prolonged protection from bleeding with once-weekly infusions, according to data from two early-stage clinical trials. In one trial, the safety results, presented at the World Federation of Hemophilia conference, found that BAY 79-4980 showed no significant differences compared to Kogenate FS. In a second trial, patients treated with the experimental drug went an average of 13.3 days without experiencing a bleeding event compared to 7.2 days following a Kogenate FS infusion.

30th September 2008

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