Press review

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Bayer ready for upcoming glyphosate lawsuits

BERLIN, 8 Fab (APM) - Bayer is ready for upcoming lawsuits over health risks linked to glyphosate-containing weedkillers thanks to the group's experience in damage claims in the U.S. from its pharma business, chief executive Werner Baumann told Wirtschaftswoche in an interview published on Friday (p50-53).
Baumann said Bayer's legal team has taken over from Monsanto's only for the next lawsuit starting on 25 February, while the group could not influence the first proceedings that led to $78 million being awarded to plaintiff Dewayne Johnson in October 2018 (APMHE 60267).
Bayer's legal team has switched gears and is "prepared to face the emotional strategy followed by plaintiffs' lawyers", Baumann added.
Bayer will maintain its focus on its three main businesses - prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and agriculture - predicting a recovery of the share price and sales increases of 4% per year until 2020, Baumann said.

Merck enters tie-up with GSK worth up to €3.7 billion

Merck KGaA and GlaxoSmithKline have agreed a tie-up worth up to €3.7 billion to the German group to jointly develop immunotherapy M7824 (bintrafusp alfa) for multiple cancers, FAZ (p21) and Welt (p13) reported on Wednesday.
Merck will receive €300 million upfront and is eligible for milestones of up to €500 million triggered by data from the M7824 lung cancer programme, plus future approval and commercial milestones of up to €2.9 billion (APMHE 61742).

Qiagen's tuberculosis diagnostic sales soared 21% in 2018

German biotech Qiagen has reported soaring growth in sales for its tuberculosis diagnostic QuantiFERON-TB Gold, FAZ reported on Wednesday (p19).
For 2019, Qiagen expects a sales increase of 7 to 8%, FAZ wrote.

MorphoSys and Janssen/Genmab settle patent lawsuit

German biotech MorphoSys has settled its patent lawsuit with Janssen Pharmaceutica and Denmark's Genmab in the U.S. over Janssen/Genmab's Darzalex (daratumumab) for multiple myeloma (APMHE 61687), FAZ reported on Saturday (p22).
The settlement was announced after the U.S. Court of Delaware rejected MorphoSys's patent claims last week.

SecurPharm anti-counterfeit system to kick off Saturday

On Saturday, SecurPharm anti-counterfeit system will be launched in German pharmacies (APMHE 61751), Die Welt reported on Wednesday (p13).
From this date on, pharma companies in the EU must supply drug packages with safety features such as a Data Matrix barcode and an anti-tampering device.

Merck investing $70 million in U.S. R&D centre

Merck KGaA has announced a $70 million investment in its U.S. biologic drugs research centre in Billerica, Massachusets, FAZ reported on Thursday (p20).
The investment is intended to strengthen drug development in the fields of oncology, immunology and immuno-oncology, FAZ wrote.

Sanofi's orphan drugs and vaccines soar, Lantus slumps

Sanofi said at its yearly results conference that sales of rare disease drugs at its Genzyme business soared 31% to €7.2 billion and vaccines by 2.4% to €5.1 billion in 2018, while sales of diabetes drug Lantus (insulin glargine) slumped by 19% to €3.65 billion after adjustment for currency effects, FAZ reports on Friday (p19 and 33).
Cost-saving programme "Horizon 2000" is set to cut 17% of jobs in administration and central services, and 140 jobs in Germany are at stake, mainly in Frankfurt and Berlin, FAZ writes.
In 2018, the group's sales fell by 1.7% to €34.46 billion after adjustment for currency effects.

Biosimilar competition for Allergan’s Botox

Allergan’s wrinkle prevention drug Botox is to face less expensive competition from Evolus’s biosimilar Jeuveau, which was granted U.S. approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday (APMHE 61718), Die Welt (p9) and FAZ (p23) reported on Tuesday.
Evolus - whose shares price rose by almost a third pre-market on Tuesday - expects to market Jeuveau at a price that is 20% to 25% lower than Botox’s, which could pose a challenge for Allergan to maintain last year’s $3.6 billion Botox sales.
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