Monday, August 18, 2008

While You Were...Making History

Kudos to Michael Phelps for making it eight straight gold medals and setting a new record for olympic bling in a single games. And don't forget Dara Torres, darling of middle-aged weekend warriors everywhere, proving she's still got the goods to medal against women--I use that term loosely--young enough to be her daughters. Outside of Beijing and South Ossetia, it was a slooow weekend for news. Here's a look at some of the stories you may have missed while you were plugged into your neglectomat.

  • The Pink Sheet Daily reports today that the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research's ability to review applications for new drugs and biologics within the timelines specified by the Prescription Drug User Fee Act has slipped a bit, dropping from 90% to 80%. But the drop has nothing to do with summer and those slackers at the FDA. Pink Sheet Daily notes that CDER's performance is better than might have been expected given the center's chronic staffing problems and increased workload.

  • Addicted to Roche/Genentech news? The East Bay Business Times reports that a Reuters survey of industry analysts predicts Roche will boost its offer for Genentech to $53 billion, or $107.50-a-share. As colleague Jessica Merrill at Pink Sheet Daily noted in a piece last week, that kind of price tag could prove troublesome for Roche, which might have to cut research budgets or worse in order to wring necessary financial efficiencies out of the deal. Want the inside scoop on the deal? Check out our FREE coverage here.

  • Investor's Business Daily has a review of the business strategy of The Medicines Co., which has eschewed blockbusters for more modest selling $200- to $300-million-a-year sellers instead, including the anticoagulant Angiomax and the high blood pressure drug Cleviprex. If the approach sounds familiar, that's because it's taken straight out of the little league manual. Get enough little hits--aka singles--and you score more runs than your opponent and win the game.

  • The WSJ reports that Phelps isn't the only one commanding attention in Beijing. J&J, the maker of athlete's foot cream for half a century, has helped rescue one of China's most precious archeological treasures--its terracotta warriors--from a damaging athlete's-foot-like fungus. By nursing one of China's national symbols back to health, J&J hopes to get "a lot of lverage" in China, Alex Valcke, a European J&J exec told the WSJ.

  • Finally, the NYT reports on the potential deadly side-effects associated with methadone. Once used mainly in addiction treatment centers to replace heroin, methadone is a synthetic form of opium being given out by family doctors, osteopaths and nurse practitioners for throbbing backs, joint injuries and a host of other severe pains. The drug, which is cheap, long-lasting, and powerful, has helped millions. But because it is also abused by thrill seekers and badly prescribed by doctors unfamiliar with its risks, methadone is now the fastest growing cause of narcotic deaths.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user guano through a creative commons license.)

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