Pharmaceutical News: Beacon Enterprise Solutions Group adds pharmaceutical client

Beacon Enterprise Solutions Group adds pharmaceutical client

Beacon Enterprise Solutions Group Inc. has signed a third U.S.-based Fortune 500 pharmaceutical client, according to a company news release.

Terms of the deal and the name of the client were not disclosed.

Beacon will provide planning, design and engineering services for the client’s global data center. Beacon expects to complete the project late in its third fiscal quarter, which ends June 30.

“The signing of another Fortune 500 client is the beginning of new growth and momentum for our company, following our decision last year to refocus on our core business,” said Bruce Widener, chairman and CEO of Beacon, in the release.

Jerry Bowman, president and chief operating officer of Beacon, said in the release that the company expects to add several new major clients this year.

For its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2010, Beacon reported a net loss of $5.7 million on sales of about $14 million.

Industry criticises Obama’s call for cheaper drugs

The US pharmaceutical industry hit back against Barack Obama’s deficit reduction plan, warning that his proposals would stymie medical advances and hurt drug companies. One top executive said the president’s speech raised fundamental questions about the industry’s outlook in the US.

The reaction signalled that a de facto truce established between the powerful drug industry and the White House during negotiations to pass healthcare legislation last year was officially over.

Mr Obama said in a speech on Wednesday that the “purchasing power” of Medicare, the government-sponsored insurance programme for the elderly, should be used to cut prescription drug spending and accelerate the introduction of cheaper generic brands on to the market.

The remark – just one sentence in an hour-long speech that focused on deficit reduction – sounded like fighting talk to the pharmaceutical industry, which supported Mr Obama’s healthcare initiative last year.

“Unfortunately, the president’s approach to reducing our deficit fails to consider the impact on the entire policy tapestry – local and federal – that influence our industry’s current and future health,” said John Castellani, chairman of Phrma, the industry trade group. “Specifically, proposals to expand rebates, saddle seniors with higher premiums and slash data protection for biologics are bad for patients and are bad for innovation.”

Phrma said plans to impose “price controls” would slow the pace of drug innovation and spending on research and development and that better drugs would reduce hospitalisations and lower healthcare costs.

Drug companies took Mr Obama’s comments as a threat to the “non-interference” clause in the Medicare drug scheme, which restricts the government from manipulating prices in the industry.

David Brennan, chief executive of AstraZeneca, told CNBC television on Thursday that he was optimistic about the US pharmaceutical market until Mr Obama’s speech.

“Some of the comments that were made yesterday don’t really provide the kind of policy framework for integration there that we’re looking for, so we’re just more concerned about it,” he said.

As part of a deal agreed behind closed doors in 2010, industry negotiators agreed to offer $80bn in drug discounts to elderly patients and actively lobbied for the healthcare overhaul. In exchange, proposals supported by some Democrats that would have dented the industry’s profits were taken off the table.

The White House has already faced a tough political opponent in the insurance industry, which steadfastly lobbied against the healthcare bill. The possibility that it could now also face similar pushback from Big Pharma raises further political challenges for the administration.

Mr Obama’s proposal also called for strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created during last year’s reform act to curb Medicare spending growth, and banning brand-name drug companies from making so-called “pay for delay” deals with generic companies to keep their products off the market. The plan estimates savings of $200bn over 10 years.

Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to be Acquired by Axcan

Mpex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that Axcan and Mpex have entered into agreements pursuant to which Axcan will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Mpex and its lead product candidate, Aeroquin™. A proprietary aerosol formulation of levofloxacin, Aeroquin is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of pulmonary infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

All assets not associated with Aeroquin™, including financial and human resources, will be spun out of Mpex and into a newly formed company. The new company will remain in San Diego and the former personnel of Mpex will continue to lead the Aeroquin clinical development program in collaboration with Axcan.

Specific financial terms for this transaction were not disclosed but include an upfront payment and a series of payments contingent on regulatory and commercial success. The full acquisition, which is contingent upon customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second half of 2011.

“Axcan has a long history of developing and commercializing pharmaceutical products for the cystic fibrosis community, as evidenced most recently by ZENPEP®,” stated Daniel Burgess, President and CEO of Mpex. “We look forward to working with the dedicated team at Axcan to help bring this potentially important new treatment option to patients with CF.”

About Mpex Pharmaceuticals

Mpex Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to develop important new therapies to combat the growing issue of antibiotic resistance. Mpex’s most advanced product candidate, Aeroquin™ (MP- 376), is a proprietary aerosol formulation of levofloxacin that is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of pulmonary infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. The Company has a number of additional antibiotic programs designed to address antibiotic resistance in gram negative organisms, including a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline focused on developing drug candidates utilizing Mpex’s efflux pump inhibitor (EPI) technology.

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