The weekend news in pharmaland was dominated by Vytorin (again--see below) and a few other stories coming out of the ACC meeting in Chicago. No surprise there, and no surprises in the NCAA Tourney, with four #1 seeds making it to San Antonio. In other more important news, it's Opening Day ...
- The publication (in the NEJM) and presentation (at ACC) of the long-awaited Enhance data did little to improve the current prospects for Merck/Schering-Plough's Vytorin/Zetia franchise. At ACC an expert panel put together to discuss and debate the results essentially suggested the drugs were used waaaay too much, and that "people need to go back to statins." (The pharmacos' response to the publication/presentation is here, The Pink Sheet Daily has the story here, the NYT weighs in here, and the WSJ story is here.) On Friday, the companies said they were expanding the Improve-It outcomes study everyone is waiting for, and results won't be available until 2012. UPDATE: Merck off about 12% ($12bb in market cap), Schering-Plough down 27% ($8bb) in early trading.
- Two Vancouver-based RNA interference drug and delivery companies are merging, and Alnylam and Roche has each promised them a $5 million wedding present. Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (a spin out of Inex Pharmaceuticals) and Protiva Biotherapeutics said Sunday they were combining their RNAi therapeutics and delivery businesses, retaining the Tekmira name and Toronto stock exchange listing. Alnylam and Roche each committed to buy $5 million in Tekmira stock at $2.40/share at the close of the deal, nearly triple Tekmira's Friday closing price of $0.87. Alnylam will have access to the combined company's liposomal delivery technologies (which under the agreement will be sublicensed to Roche and Regulus, the micro RNA JV set up by Alnylam and Isis) and Tekmira will secure a license to Alnylam's IP to develop seven siRNA drugs under its InterfeRx program.
- The AP notes incoming Lilly CEO John Lechleiter's penchants for perambulation and blogging, though we imagine these things are tough to do simultaneously. Throw in addressing Lilly's current woes and this guy's got a full schedule (though the most recent prasugrel data should put a spring in his step). Walk the walk with the Boston Globe.
Photo by flickr user Atelier Teee used under a creative commons license.