Selumetinib (AZD6244) is a drug that was discovered by Array BioPharma and was licensed to AstraZeneca. It is being investigated for the treatment of various types of cancer, such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
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India’s total use of antibiotics more than doubled from 2000 to 2015, new research says, making the country the world’s biggest consumer of antibiotics and stoking fears of increasing antibiotic resistance.
When calculated as doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day, global antibiotic consumption rose 39%, with India increasing 63%, China increasing 65%, and Pakistan increasing 21%. In high-income countries, total consumption increased modestly while doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day fell 4%.
“Of particular concern was the rapid increase in the use of last-resort compounds” such as glycylcyclines, oxazolidinones, carbapenems, and polymyxins in all countries, the authors say. “Radical rethinking of policies to reduce consumption is necessary, including major investments in improved hygiene, sanitation, vaccination, and access to diagnostic tools both to prevent unnecessary antibiotic use and to decrease the burden of infectious disease.”
Novartis plans to acquire the neurological gene therapy firm AveXis for $8.7 billion. The purchase will bolster the Swiss giant’s standing as a big pharma leader in the emerging gene therapy field.
AveXis’s leading drug candidate is its gene therapy to treat infants with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (SMA1), a devastating genetic disease, sometimes called “floppy baby syndrome,” that causes weak muscles and difficulty breathing. Only 8% of afflicted infants survive to 20 months of age. Those that do rely on ventilation support and will never walk.
In a potential threat to foreign drugmakers profiting on innovative drugs, the Chinese government on Tuesday issued a new policy package—including tax breaks—to promote generics.
The package (Chinese) would allow certain qualified generics makers to be designated as high-tech enterprises, a label that comes with a 15% corporate tax rate, compared to 25% for other companies. The policy also makes clear that China considers compulsory patent licensing a bona fide option during public health emergencies or shortages of key drugs.
The government’s health department and recently rebranded drug regulator will compile and actively update a drug list that encourages companies to produce generic versions. That list will include medications for rare diseases, major infectious diseases and pediatric treatments, as well as important drugs that are running scarce.
Sanofi’s new atopic dermatitis launch Dupixent has hit a roadblock with the influential cost-effectiveness gatekeepers in England. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence rejected the blockbuster hopeful, despite finding that it’s an innovative drug for patients who have a strong need for new treatments.
The obstacle? It’s likely price, if NICE history holds. The agency found that Dupixent is a “step change” in managing the disease, Sanofi said Tuesday, but couldn’t sign off on its use because of cost-effectiveness concerns. The guidance isn’t final, and the process now goes to a consultation period until April 24.
Entacapone, sold under the brand name Comtan among others, is a medication commonly used in combination with other medications for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Entacapone is a selective and reversible inhibitor of the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT). When taken together with levodopa (L-DOPA) and carbidopa, entacapone stops catechol-O-methyltransferase from breaking down and metabolizing levodopa, resulting in an overall increase of levodopa remaining in the brain and body. (see more details on Wikipedia)
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease. Neurons in the motor center of the patient gradually die, resulting in tremors and loss of motor ability. Because PD neurons die in patients and there is a blood-brain barrier around the brain to prevent pathogens from invading the brain, it is generally believed that the source of PD is an abnormality in the brain. However, recent research from the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the United States shows that the initial cause of the pathological process of PD may not be in the brain but in the immune response of the peripheral immune system to common infections.
“Although we need to conduct more experiments to test this connection, and we need to verify whether this result also exists in humans, but this discovery has revealed us a new perspective on how these genetic mutations lead to PD,” Dr. Smeyne said: “Although we cannot allow people to take immunosuppressants for life to prevent PD, if this mechanism is confirmed, we may find other ways to reduce the possibility of PD while maintaining the body’s immune response to infection.