Biotech and Pharmaceuticals Medicine

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    I end the week as I started it: blogging about Vivus and the three-contestant race to make a new prescription diet pill.

  • On a day when the market is in full-tilt rally mode on the GDP number, shares of Dow component Merck and the company it's buying, Schering-Plough, are sliding. So, what gives?

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    GlaxoSmithKline is one of the handful of drug companies on the front lines of the fight against the flu. In fact, it is the only company that has products on both sides. GSK makes a vaccine and an antiviral. In the third quarter, GSK today reported that it sold nearly $300 million worth of the inhalable flu-fighter Relenza. That’s a more than 10-fold increase from a year ago. And CEO Andrew Witty reportedly forecast around $1.6 billion worth of flu shot sales in the fourth quarter.

  • Patients on Vivus' late-stage developmental diet drug, Qnexa, lost an average 37 pounds in 13 months.

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    The folks at Eli Lilly probably cringe every time I go here, but the company this morning reported that third quarter U.S. sales of the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis sprung 13 percent to nearly $159 million.

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    One of the things we learned in Pfizer's earnings press release and on the conference call today is that since the start of 2008 the company has eliminated 11,200 positions. And now that the world's biggest pharmaceutical firm has gotten even bigger by swallowing Wyeth, it's going to let go even more people to help wring out about $4 billion in annual expenses by 2012.

  • Amgen

    In case you weren't aware, tomorrow is "World Osteoporosis Day" or WOD, for short, as the International Osteoporosis Foundation hilariously refers to it, but biotech Amgen won't be celebrating the occasion.

  • Notes from the front lines of the battle against H1N1. So, I've spent part of yesterday and most of today at the University of Kansas Hospital covering the first H1N1 flu shots being administered.

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    This Friday the CDC is expected to start giving weekly updates on where and how much H1N1 vaccine has been shipped. I'm curious what the demand will truly turn out to be. Some people are growing concerned about the increasing number of pediatric deaths from H1N1 and may rush to get their kids and themselves vaccinated. Others are afraid of or paranoid about the vaccine.

  • Novartis Headquarters

    Vanda Pharmaceuticals may go down in industry history as one of the most remarkable turnaround stories.

  • Dendreon is growing in more ways than one. At a time when so many drug companies are letting people go, Dendreon is on a hiring binge to ramp up for the anticipated launch of its prostate cancer drug Provenge. But it's also expanding its board of directors.

  • With $137 billion worth of brand name drugs going generic over the next several years, the recession and the looming threat of healthcare reform a lot of people have been running scared about what it all means for pharma. So, surprise, surprise! This morning IMS Health, which closely monitors the industry, came out with its annual forecast and it now says the American drug market is going to grow this year instead of shrink.

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    I’ve said it before, and I know it’s a bad cliché (is there such a thing as a good cliché?), but I learn something new almost every day. Today, my lesson came in the form of an eye-catching research note out of Leerink Swann, which specializes in covering healthcare-related companies and stocks.

  • Pharmacist wearing face mask

    Yesterday and today thousands of kids and healthcare workers around the country started getting AstraZeneca's H1N1 FluMist, the vaccine that's sprayed into the nose. The first shots from Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis may be available later this week. GlaxoSmithKline and Baxter are still waiting for the FDA to approve their vaccines.

  • The pork industry would prefer the media to use the more scientific term but "swine flu" tends to be more reader/viewer friendly.

  • If you were ever needed examples of the phenomenal risk and reward of investing in baby biopharma look no further than what’s going on in the sector today.

  • Heart Drawing

    A race is on to develop the potentially next big thing in heart surgery: a replacement valve that can be implanted through thin tubes known as catheters rather than by traditional open-heart surgery.

  • Workers are fighting the flu around the clock at the Alpha Pro Tech factory in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • New York Public Information Campaign Warns of Swine Flu

    The number-one H1N1 flu concern among U.S. businesses is the availability of a vaccine for employees, according to a new survey by the Business Roundtable.

  • Sequenom

    It's the equivalent of slipping a press release with negative news under the door at the close of business on a Friday. But after the closing bell on Yom Kippur, when many people including me were trying to give up food and tweeting for a day, Sequenom tossed a grenade.