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R&D news in brief

Our weekly round-up of news in brief

S-A heads Alzheimer's collaboration
Sanofi-aventis (S-A) has joined forces with Innogenetics and Inserm, through its subsidiary of Inserm-Transfert, in a collaborative research agreement in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The agreement has been signed for an initial two-year period with an option for S-A to obtain an exclusive worldwide license on the data from the research programme in the therapeutics field. In addition, Innogenetics will have an exclusive worldwide license in the diagnostics field. Results of the collaboration should result in the study of the role specific forms of key Alzheimer's protein, amyloid fl, as targets for new therapeutic advances.

S-A will evaluate different products against diverse forms of the amyloid fl protein in a passive immunisation programme. In return for giving S-A access to their technology and services, Innogenetics and Inserm-Tranfert will receive upfront and research fees. The agreement is built on intellectual property and research collaboration between Innogenetics and Inserm-Lille on the development of diagnostic tools for Alzheimer's disease, dating from 2002.

EuropaBio supports talks with WHO
EuropaBio has welcomed the opportunity to discuss and debate issues related to the naming of biologicals and biosimilar medicines, with the World Health Organisation and the international community. The biotech industry association believes that open dialogue is necessary to ensure that, with the arrival of biosimilar medicines, the traceability, substitution and pharmacovigilance of biosimilars and biological products are harmonised and consistent across the world. EuropaBio is also in support of an initiative to ensure that doctors and healthcare professionals are given specific information following European Medicine Agency guidelines about biosimilar medicines so they can make an informed decision about their use.

Abatacept data 'encouraging'
Bristol-Myers Squibb has revealed that two-year data from three phase III pivotal trials demonstrate the long-term efficacy of abatacept, in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have had an inadequate response to one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS), such as methotrexate and TNF antagonists. Data showed that abatacept provided clinically meaningful improvements in many aspects of health-related quality of life and physical function, sustained improvements in pain, as well as a consistent safety and tolerability profile over two years. ìThese data are encouraging and add to the body of evidence demonstrating that abatacept is an effective option providing durable response for patients who have not benefited from previous treatment with DMARDS,î said Dr Mark Genovese, associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

30th September 2008

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