Release of Contrave data validates FDA's demand for second trial
Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) gained $1.85 (32%) to $7.64 after an interim analysis of the LIGHT cardiovascular (CV) outcomes study showed that the company's obesity drug Contrave naltrexone/bupropion may have a cardiovascular benefit. The data release could compromise the ongoing trial, but FDA had already requested a second trial when it approved Contrave last fall.
J&J launches second Bay Area JLABS incubator
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) launched the fourth incubator in its JLABS network, located in South San Francisco, Calif., and named the first 10 companies in residence. J&J said the incubator can accommodate up to 50 startups.
NICE backs Harvoni for some HCV patients
The U.K.'s NICE published draft guidance recommending Harvoni ledipasvir/sofosbuvir from Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) as a cost-effective treatment for certain subpopulations of patients with HCV genotypes 1 and 4 at a list price of L38,980 ($60,017) for a 12-week course. Comments are due March 23.
Blueprint, Alexion start rare disease collaboration
Blueprint Medicines (Cambridge, Mass.) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXN) started a research collaboration to develop small molecules against an undisclosed activated kinase that causes a rare genetic disease.
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd. (Tokyo:4506) named Toru Kimura and Hajime Kinuta executive officers, effective April 1. Kimura is director of Sumitomo's regenerative & cellular medicine office; Kinuta is its director of global corporate planning.
POLITICS & POLICY
NIGMS readies pilot program for grants
Jon Lorsch, director of the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), told the U.S. House Appropriations Committee that a new pilot program could make the agency's nearly $2 billion granting process more efficient and introduce a new funding mechanism for early-stage investigators.