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Pharmalot.. Pharmalittle.. As the weekend nears.. Catching up on Merck, Roche and..

pic thx to jake cook on flickr creative commons [1]

pic thx to jake cook on flickr creative commons

And so, another working week will soon come to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? This is, as you know, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda is extremely modest this time around. We expect to remove leaves from the Pharmalot campus, promenade with our official mascots and catch up on some work. And what about you? The great outdoors continue to beckon. There is still time to plan a holiday get-away. Or you could debate Starbucks coffee cups. Whatever you do, have a grand time. But be safe. See you soon…

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact could limit the availability of affordable medicines, World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan told a conference, Reuters [2] writes. There are “some very serious concerns… “If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines, we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all?” Member governments must still ratify the deal.

A federal appeals court backed an earlier ruling invalidating four of five patents on the Cubicin antibiotic that Merck acquired with its $8.4 billion deal to buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals, The Wall Street Journal [3] writes. If the ruling stands, generic versions can appear in mid-2016, when the remaining patent expires, and could wipe out a large chunk of Cubicin sales. The deal was trumpeted as a way for Merck to push deeper into antibiotics. Merck may appeal.

Roche plans to close or sell four manufacturing sites and pare about 1,200 jobs in a restructuring program that will cost about $1.6 billion over the next five years, Bloomberg News [4] writes. The drugmaker sites are located in Ireland, Spain, Italy and the US. The drug maker explains that new medicines based on small molecules will require more specialized manufacturing facilities and will be produced in smaller quantities.

Mylan is poised to lose its hostile bid for Perrigo, The Wall Street Journal [5] reports. A minority of Perrigo shareholders tendered their stock into Mylan’s $26 billion takeover proposal by late Thursday night. But Mylan needs at least 50 percent to take control of its smaller rival, which it has pursued for the past seven months.  Perrigo mostly sells store-brand versions of cold and allergy medicines.

China signaled a tougher stance on drug quality by rejecting applications for 11 medicines with inadequate or suspect clinical data, The Economic Times [6] reports. The move follows a call in July for manufacturers to carry out their own internal investigations into trial data, which had already led to a number of voluntary recalls.

Roughly one in five patients taking AstraZeneca’s blood thinner Brilinta during trials stopped using the drug because of side effects, according to new research, The News-Journal [7] tells us.

An advisory panel for the FDA will explore the development and licensing of maternal immunizations used to protect infants from disease at a meeting today, MedPage Today [8] says.

The FDA approved the expanded use of Harvoni, the hepatitis C drug sold by Gilead Sciences to treat patients with subtypes of the virus and who also have HIV, Reuters [9] writes.

MannKind managed to sell only 13.8 million shares directly to the Israeli funds, nowhere close to the 50 million shares the drug maker had hoped, TheStreet [10] informs us.

Merck is buying Harrisvaccines, which supplies vaccines to livestock producers, for undisclosed terms, The Des Moines Register [11] reports.

A former Bank of New York Mellon employee was sentenced to six months in prison after admitting to illegally making $737,000 trading on tips a friend at Merck supplied him about potential pharma mergers, Reuters [12] says.

Teva Pharmaceutical’s blockbuster drug Copaxone fared better than expected against a generic last quarter, prompting speculation that cheaper rivals may not be a disaster, Bloomberg News [13] writes.

New York state will offer $1 million in annual prizes for biotechnology startups as part of a new competition, according to The Albany Business Review [14].