November 4, 2009
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Merck closed its merger with Schering-Plough yesterday, following regulatory clearance in China and Mexico. They held press events yesterday and today, and this morning they appear to have released country-specific announcments.
Here’s the blurb on Canadian operations:
“Canada is an integral part of the company’s expanded global presence. Merck will now market over 530 pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products, employ over 1800 people, generate over $1.2 billion in pharmaceutical sales and invest over $121 million in research and development in Canada. Merck operations in Canada include research, manufacturing, and sales.”
The Merck Canada website is still being updated.
August 17, 2009
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A few interesting items hit the news this morning that continue the trend of explaining comparative effectiveness data by examining underlying genetic variation.
- Genetics explains why white patients respond better than black patients to standard Hepatitis C treatment. Bloomberg reported on a Nature paper showing that Hepatitis C patients with a genetic polymorphism near the IL28B gene show a 2-fold better response to treatment than patients without the variant. Because the variant is more common in patients with European ancestry than in those with African ancestry, it accounts for about half the observed difference in treatment response between the two populations.
- Genetic variants were identified that are associated with increased risk of childhood leukemia, which could lead to a better understanding of disease etiology and could lead to personalized treatments down the road.
- In a sign that genomic technology will be an increasingly important part of healthcare, Beckman Coulter formed a new company, Beckman Coulter Genomics, that will provide gene sequencing, sample preparation and other genomic services.
July 30, 2009
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The New York Times’ DealBook blog reports that regulatory concerns about Merck’s purchase of Schering-Plough, presumably Schering’s Intervet animal health subsidiary, required Merck to divest its stake in Merial — its animal health JV with sanofi-aventis. Sanofi is kindly obliging, for $4 billion.
Interestingly (given DealBook’s reporting that the JV divestiture is antitrust-driven), Merck, sanofi and Schering also entered into a call option agreement (pdf), giving sanofi-aventis the option to combine Intervet with Merial following the Merck-Schering merger to form a new animal health joint venture with post-merger Merck.
The blurb on Merial Canada, which has what appears to be a small presence in Baie D’urfé Québec, is available for your viewing pleasure after the jump…
April 15, 2009
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Two Camels! Dolly the cloned sheep, meet Injaz the cloned camel.
Two R&D Heads! The combined Pfizer-Wyeth will have Mikael Dolsten heading up the newly created BioTherapeutics Research Group and Martin Mackay heading up the small molecule PharmaTherapeutics Research Group. (Two CapitalLetters!) The In Vivo Blog has a podcast interviewing both.
Two VA Initiatives! In addition to the electronic medical records initiative we mentioned earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs is also setting up a large cohort genetic study that will establish a database of genetic information from patients that will be linked to the participants’ electronic health records. This is great news for personalized medicine because it will ensure that the EHR standard that comes out of the VA project will accomodate and utilize individualized genotypic data.
Two R’s, Two L’s, Two B’s! G. Steven Burrill (two r’s, two l’s, one b) says he’s confident he can raise $1 billion (there it is!) to develop the Pine Island biotechnology project and a private equity/venture capital fund, which will support development of new technologies out of the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota, among others.
Two Guidance…s! Health Canada issued a finalized version of a Guidance Document on data protection (only applicable to qualifying innovative drugs that received an NOC on or after June 17, 2006) AND a revised version of the draft Guidance Document on Subsequent Entry Biologics, (which includes a 6-year data protection period). More to come on this.
Two Border Crossings! Simponi, a biologic developed by Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough, crossed the border Northbound — gaining approval from Health Canada before the FDA; and Molecular Templates Inc. crossed the border Southbound — leaving Ontario for the Texas Life-Sciences Collaboration Center.
March 9, 2009
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Following this morning’s announcement of Merck’s offer for Schering-Plough (0.5767 share of Merck and $10.50 in cash for each Schering-Plough share = $23.61 a share, a 34% premium, with Merck shareholders owning 68% of the combined company), we thought we’d take a look at the respective Canadian operations. See what we turned up after the jump…