Press review


More than 30 drugs expected to be launched in Germany in 2019

Country : Belgium, Germany, U.S.

Keywords :
BERLIN, 4 Jan (APM) - More than 30 drugs containing new active substances are expected to be launched in Germany in 2019, according to pharma lobby vfa, reported Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Thursday (p.20).
About a third of these new launches will be cancer drugs, the same proportion as in 2018, vfa said. At least six antibiotics are expected to be launched, of which two have already received EU approval and four are still under review.

BMS-Celgene 'biggest ever pharma merger'

The takeover of Celgene by Bristol-Myers Squibb is the biggest ever merger in the pharmaceutical industry, according to M&A analysts, report FAZ (p. 22), Handelsblatt (p.1, 14-15 and 21), Sueddeutsche Zeitung (p.19) and Die Welt (p.9) on Friday (APMHE 61277).
BMS is offering a purchase price of $74 billion but the deal is worth around $90 billion including debt, according to estimates from data service provider Refinitiv and Bloomberg.
"The best of pharmaceuticals combined with the best of biotech," said BMS CEO Giovanni Caforio and Celgene CEO Mark Alles in a conference call.
BMS will expand its business with immuno-oncology products thanks to Celgene's acquisition of Juno Therapeutics in 2018. This is welcome as BMS's growth driver Opdivo has lost ground to Merck & Co's Keytruda (pembrolizumab).
In Germany, both companies are located in Munich, with BMS employing 900 staff and Celgene more than 300, Handelsblatt said.

CAR-T therapies a breakthrough

CAR-T cell therapies mark a breakthrough for gene therapies, writes Handelsblatt in a 2018 review of game-changers in the industry on Friday (p.46).
Novartis and Gilead won approvals in the U.S. and the EU in 2018 after showing that CAR-T cell therapies led to complete remission, in 70% to 80% of children treated for blood cancers for instance.
Even if the treatment has potential severe side effects, outcomes are much better than the first gene therapies available in the 1990s, which faced major setbacks and were set aside, Handelsblatt writes.

NxStage's acquisition by Fresenius Medical Care delayed

The planned $2 billion acquisition of home dialysis equipment manufacturer NxStage Medical by Fresenius Medical Care (FMC) is delayed as the U.S. antitrust authority FTC has not yet given its decision, reported FAZ on Monday (p22).
FMC now expects the transaction to close in early 2019, it said. FMC had initially planned to complete the acquisition, announced in August 2017, before the end of 2018.

Ablynx well established in Belgium

The chief executive of Belgium biotech Ablynx Piet Houwen has praised the Ghent area as being "similar to Boston" in terms of an innovation-friendly environment, reported FAZ on Monday (p22).
Ablynx, founded in 2001 and bought by Sanofi in a €3.9 billion deal in January 2018, is a spinoff from the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology run by the universities in Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Leuven and Hasselt.
Highly qualified researchers, Belgium's favourable geographical location in Europe and tax incentives long granted by the state are decisive assets for this success, said Houwen.

Big pharma raising U.S. prices

Pharmaceutical companies increased their prices in the U.S. by an average of 6.3% in January according to a study by RX Savings Solutions, Handelsblatt reported on Thursday (p17).
This marks an end to promises not to raise prices following heavy criticism from President Donald Trump in mid-2018 (APMHE 61161).
Allergan made the most numerous increases by raising the prices of 51 products, by almost 10% for half of them.



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