PARIS, 22 June (APM) - Le Figaro published on Monday (p14) an open letter to French health minister Agnès Buzyn from 194 healthcare professionals opposing the end of Alzheimer's medicines' reimbursement.
In the letter, the neurologists, psychiatrists and geriatricians "express their anger" overthe decision, that according to them "jeopardises years of work and commitment for the treatment of this disease, as well as several governmental plans".
They said the arguments used by the government to justify the measure are "biased", arguing the limited efficacy of those treatments was known since their arrival on the market, also noting their approvals were supported by many "rigorous studies".
They added: "Those treatments have been used used all over the world for years, and specialists have included them in their practice and consider them as safe and useful.
"Claiming medicines that have been prescribed since 20 years in a rightful way are dangerous should be supported by evidence, and neither pharmacology reports analysis nor scientific literature bring any converging evidence of this statement," they continued, asking the government to reconsider its decision.
In another article published the same day, Le Figaro (p13) described the non-pharmaceutical techniques used in the care of Alzheimers patients that have proven their efficacy in alleviating their burden.
BMS mulls selling French OTC branch UPSA
Wednesday’s Les Echos (p13) and Thursday’s Le Monde (Economy and Enterprises supplement, brief p5), reported on the announcement made by Bristol-Myers Squibb that it might sell its French OTC subsidiary UPSA (APMHE 58593
Les Echos pointed out UPSA was "a drop in the ocean" in terms of sales for the group, with annual revenues of €420 million.
"It is also a curiosity in the portfolio of the company, which is now very far from self-medication and has massively specialised in cancer," it added.
Emergence of computer-simulated trials
Tuesday’s Les Echos (p14) published an article on the emergence of computer-simulated clinical trials, noting they could become a major technology in the near future to accelerate and optimise clinical developments.
The article cited the example of French biotech Enyo Pharma, which used the services of Novadiscovery, a specialist of digital simulation and modelisation of clinical trials, for the development of its hepatitis B candidate drug EYP001.
Before the compound enters Phase II, Enyo asked Novadiscovery to simulate the molecule’s efficacy on a population of 10,000 virtual patients.
Nanobiotix wins 'major' battle against cancer
Friday’s Les Echos (p15) says French biotech Nanobiotix has won a "major" battle against cancer, with positive Phase III results for its nanoparticle-based soft tissues tumors.
The product, NBTXR 3, administered locally, has proven its capacity to enhance the effects of radiotherapy.
Tumours that were removed by surgery after radiotherapy and NBTXR 3 were twice more numerous to contain only dead cancerous cells than in the reference group, Les Echos adds.
Moreover, the number of patients where surgeons had left no cancerous cells in the surrounding area of the tumour was increased by 20% thanks to the product.
The company is also leading similar clinical trials in other types of cancers, among which advanced lung cancer, for which a Phase I/II study should begin in the following months, in combination with an immunotherapy.
Merck KGaA creates industrial process 'collaboration centre' in Eastern France
Merck KGaA will open a "collaboration centre" in 2019 on its site of Molsheim in Alsace (East), reported Les Echos on Wednesday (p24).
The unit will focus on the development of industrial processes and will represent an investment of €10 million.
It will host collaborations with other industrial companies, and also aims at reinforcing the connections with partners from Middle East and Africa.
Les Echos added the site will also benefit in 2020 from a second investment, a €15 million manufacturing line in charge of the production of cell culture medium kits used in bacteriology.
This second investment is actually a transfer of an existing activity in the German site of Eppelheim, whose closure had been announced by the company in 2017.
Roche Pharma pioneer programme for staff with chronic diseases
On Wednesday, Les Echos (p34) reported on a programme launched by Roche Pharma France to support its employees suffering from severe diseases, notably cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Named 'Cancer&Work', the programme encompasses a special support system set up with the human resources department, with adaptations of employees' schedule, as well as a psychological support scheme.
Sanofi hires Jean-Baptiste Chasseloup de Chatillon as chief financial officer
Wednesday’s Le Figaro (brief p28) reported on the appointment of Jean-Baptiste Chasseloup de Chatillon, former chief financial officer at automotive group PSA, as executive vice-president and chief financial officer (APMHE 58562
He will succeed Jérome Contamine, who is retiring.