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Genetic Test Maker 23andMe Hires Biotech Executive to Lead its Drug Development Effort

Google-backed genetic-testing company 23andMe is launching its own drug development unit, and bringing on former Genentech executive to become its chief scientist and lead the company’s research and development efforts. 23andMe has collected genetic information from more than 850,000 customers worldwide from its $99 DNA spit test and more than …

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Endo Threatens Valeant’s Deal with Competing Bid for Salix Pharmaceuticals

Today, Endo International plc confirmed that it has made a takeover bid for Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., looking to interrupt Valeant’s plans to acquire the gastrointestinal drugmaker. Endo said that it has submitted a proposal to the Board of Directors of Salix to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common …

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MedImmune Partners with Joslin Diabetes Center to Advance Metabolic Disease Research

AstraZeneca’s biologics arm, MedImmune, recently announced that it has partnered with the world’s largest diabetes research and clinical care organization to develop new drugs for treatment of diabetes, obesity and related metabolic disorders. The company announced that it has entered a three-year research collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center. Together, MedImmune …

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Biodesix to Collaborate with Inivata for NGS-Based Lung Cancer Tests

Molecular diagnostics company Biodesix, Inc. is teaming up with clinical cancer genomics company Inivata to develop Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-blood based tests for lung cancer. The companies announced their partnership to develop and commercialize these tests for clinical applications in lung cancer, leveraging Inivata’s proprietary, enhanced Tam-Seq technology platform and …

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Concordia Pays $1.2 Billion for Covis Pharma Assets

Rare disease specialist Concordia Healthcare Corp. recently announced that it will purchase assets of Covis Pharma’s pharma and injectables units for $1.2 billion in cash. Concordia said that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the commercial assets of privately held Covis Pharma S.à.r.l and …

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Merk’s Keytruda Fast Tracked to UK Patients with Advanced Melanoma

Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) has been fast-tracked to NHS patients under the U.K.’s new Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EMAS). The drug is the first to be accepted through the initiative, making Keytruda available in the U.K. despite not having an approved Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) by the European Medicines Agency …

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Merck Serono Partners with Illumina to Develop a University NGS-Based Oncology Diagnostic

Illumina announced that it is partnering with Merck Serono to develop a universal oncology diagnostic that uses next-generation sequencing (NGS). The companies will collaborate to develop a universal NGS-based oncology diagnostic for clinical trials of targeted cancer therapies, with the goal of a more comprehensive tool for precision medicine. The …

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FDA Approves United Therapeutics’ Rare Pediatric Cancer Drug and Gives the Company a Priority Review Voucher

US health regulators approved the first drug to treat pediatric patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that develops on immature nerve cells. United Therapeutics Corporation announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Unituxin (dinutuximab) Injection, in combination with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-2 (IL-2) and …

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Specialty Therapies Drive Significant Increase in US Drug Spending in 2014

Spending on specialty drugs took a record rise in the US in 2014, largely due to new expensive, yet effective, hepatitis C drugs, according to new data released today in the 2014 Express Scripts Drug Trend Report. According to the pharmacy benefit manager’s (PBM) report, new hepatitis C drugs’ high …

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Quest Diagnostics Announces Availability of Exclusive Whole Exome Sequencing Service for Diagnosis of Pediatric Neurological Disorders

Quest Diagnostics announced that it is now offering a whole exome sequencing service aimed to enhance the diagnosis of rare neurological disorders in pediatric population. The leading provider of diagnostic information services today announced the availability of Neurome, a whole exome sequencing service. Leading genomics-based diagnostic laboratory, Personalis, Inc. developed …

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