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Best of the Blogs, Biotech: Pfizer Settles Bribery Account With Feds


Plus, Novartis invests $20 million in UPenn for rights to new cancer immunotherapy.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful biotech news from around the Web.

The Washington Post
Link: Pfizer Agrees to Pay $60M to Settle Foreign Bribery Case with US
"Pfizer Inc. (PFE) agreed Tuesday to pay $60 million to settle charges alleging that some of its foreign subsidiaries bribed doctors and health-care officials in order to gain regulatory approval for the company's drugs and boost sales in those countries.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, which brokered separate settlements with Pfizer, said the New York-based pharmaceutical giant flagged regulators to some improper payments in 2004 and cooperated with federal investigators. No one at Pfizer headquarters knew of the bribery, regulators said."

Nature News Blog
Link: Novartis Gives University $20 Million for Cancer Vaccine
"Drug giant Novartis (NVS) is making a multimillion dollar bet that a patient's immune system can be cancer's worst enemy. It is teaming up with scientists at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) in Philadelphia to develop and manufacture cancer immunotherapies.

"Last August, UPenn scientists announced the dramatic results of a tiny clinical trial of their immunotherapy approach, describing long-lasting remissions in leukaemia patients for whom standard therapies had stopped working…. In the US$20-million collaboration, announced today [Tuesday], Novartis, which is based in Basel, Switzerland, will get exclusive worldwide rights to these technologies."

Link: Express Scripts Ups View after Strong Results with Medco

"Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX) on Tuesday raised its full-year earnings forecast, citing a strong second quarter, increased use of more profitable generic drugs and sooner-than-expected cost savings from its $29 billion acquisition of rival pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions."

Insider Monkey
Link: Arena Pharmaceuticals, VIVUS, Amarin See Stocks Tied Together Again

"Three pharmaceutical companies – Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ARNA), VIVUS, Inc. (VVUS) and Amarin Corporation, PLC (AMRN) – have been intrinsically linked in the markets the last few weeks, as each of the companies have recently received FDA approval for their drugs, with the former two companies in a direct head-to-head battle over weight-loss pills."

Link: Antitrust Suit Over Sanofi Vaccine Can Proceed

"Last December, several doctors filed a lawsuit charging Sanofi (SNY) with illegally dominating the market for meningococcal vaccines in the US by using a 'web of anticompetitive contracts' with physician buying groups. The alleged goal was to promote its Menactra vaccine after Novartis entered the market with the rival Menveo vaccine. Now, a federal judge has ruled that, despite protests from Sanofi, the doctors have sufficient standing to proceed with the case."
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