Press review

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German pharma relieved by positive drug pricing ruling

BERLIN, 6 July (APM) - The German pharma industry was relieved by a ruling of the federal social court on drug pricing that maintains the status quo, reported Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Thursday (p19).
The highest German social court considered the formation of 'mixed prices' for drugs with different levels of added benefit to be legitimate, and gave the arbitration body leeway to seek solutions when manufacturers do not find an agreement in negotiations with payers (APMHE 58802).
Pharma industry lobbies vfa, BPI and BAH have welcome the decision (APMHE 58798). The umbrella payer group GKV-Spitzenverband (GKV-SV), which had filed a suit against two decisions from the arbitration body, said: "we will have to live with the fact that the mixed price is too high for certain patient groups and too low for others" (APMHE 58800).

German start-up Gosilico seeks optimisation of biopharmaceutical manufacturing

German start-up Gosilico, based in Karlsruhe, is developing simulation models to shorten the time it takes to set up the optimal manufacturing process for biopharmaceuticals, reported Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Thursday (p19).
Founders have developed software to simulate the purification phase so that the various experiments currently needed to optimise the production process will no longer be necessary.
"Simulations are the next big thing in the pharmaceutical industry" in order to cut or limit development costs, said co-founder Teresa Baumann.
Gosilico is already cooperating with a dozen companies including Roche, Merck Sharpe & Dohme and Sartorius. By 2020, it expects to have 50 customers and to increase its revenues to €5 million.

No access to drugs for euthanasia in Germany

Critically ill patients in Germany are not to be allowed access to voluntary euthanasia medicines, FAZ (p4), SZ (p7) and Die Welt (p18) reported on Monday.
Health state secretary Lutz Stroppe issued this directive in a legally binding letter to drugs regulator BfArM, which reports to the health ministry, the paper said. Stroppe asks the institute to reject applications from patients for a lethal dose of an anaesthetic.

German pharmacists concerned about Amazon

According to industry analysts, it is only a matter of time before Amazon enters the German online pharmacy market, Dies Welt reported on Monday (p10).
German pharmacy association ABDA is worried about the disruption such a move may cause and has been closely monitoring developments since Amazon's acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack in June (APMHE 58717), the paper said.

Novartis/Amgen's migraine drug Aimovig soon to hit European market

Novartis/Amgen's migraine drug Aimovig (erenumab) will soon hit the European market, after getting a positive recommendation at the beginning of June, Handelsblatt reported on Thursday (p18) (APMHE 58344).
Aimovig, which is already approved in the U.S., is the first antibody targeting the CGRP receptor to be launched and is highly expected, as triptans, the last drug class to have brought improvements in migraine treatment, were launched in the 1990s.
Other drugs belonging to this class will follow Aimovig soon. Products from Teva (APMHE 58221) and Eli Lilly (APMHE 55990) are currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. biotech Alder is in the final clinical phase prior to submission for approval (APMHE 56333), the paper said.

CVC offer on Recordati

Recordati shares lost 18% on Monday after financial investor CVC announced its takeover bid for the Italian pharmaceutical group, reported Handelsblatt on Tuesday (p36).
CVC wants to buy 51.8% of the manufacturer for around €3 billion euros. It is offering €28 per share in cash, which corresponds to a discount of 17% to the closing price of Recordati shares the previous Friday.

Novartis to spin off Alcon

Swiss group Novartis is to divest eye care division Alcon, which was one of the unsuccessful acquisitions decided by former CEO Daniel Vasella, FAZ reported on Saturday (p24) (APMHE 58720).
Acquired for $50 billion in 2010, Alcon has not lived up to expectations, the paper said.
Based on the first stock market reaction, the spin-off is likely to meet with the approval of shareholders. Novartis shares rose by more than 3% to 74.80 Swiss francs. The accompanying announcement by Novartis to buy back shares worth up to $5 billion by the end of 2019 is also likely to have played a role.
In the course of the spin-off, Alcon CEO Mike Ball will become will become chairman-designate of Alcon and David Endicott, currently Alcon's chief operating officer (COO), will be promoted to CEO, effective 1 July.
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