Tag Archives: GSK

Top Pharma News and Developments that Made Headlines in April

These are last month’s pharma news and developments brought to you by Congress Bookers, a reliable accommodation partner for lead pharma companies worldwide.


FDA approved Brineura for a specific form of Batten disease


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Brineura as a treatment for a specific form of Batten disease. Being an enzyme replacement therapy, Brineura’s active ingredient (cerliponase alfa) is a recombinant form of human TPP1, the enzyme deficient in patients with CLN2 disease.

Brineura is set to slow loss of walking ability in pediatric patients aged 3 and older suffering from late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2), also known as tripeptidyl peptidase-1 (TPP1) deficiency.

The FDA granted approval of Brineura to BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.


Novartis entered clinical trial agreement with Allergan


Novartis entered into a clinical trial agreement with Allergan to use its FXR agonist and Allergan’s cenicriviroc (CVC) for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) as part of a Phase IIb study.

NASH is known to be one of the biggest triggers of liver diseases leading to liver transplants worldwide. At the moment, there aren’t any approved treatments for NASH.

As part of the agreement, Novartis and Allergan will conduct a Phase IIb clinical trial to assess the safety, efficacy and tolerability of their combines therapies for NASH.


Bristol-Myers Squibb enters into separate agreements with Biogen & Roche


Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into two separate agreements with Biogen and Roche to License anti-eTau and anti-myostatin compounds.

Under the agreements, Bristol- Myers Squibb plans to license BMS-986168, an anti-eTau compound in development for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), to Biogen, and BMS-986089, an anti-myostatin adnectin in development for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, to Roche.


Roche’s Tecentriq won FDA OK


Genentech, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, got approval from the FDA for its already approved immunotherapy drug, Tecentriq, to treat advanced bladder cancer. The FDA granted Tecentriq an accelerated approval as an initial treatment for patients with advanced bladder cancer who are not eligible for standard cisplatin chemotherapy.

Tecentriq belongs to PD-1 inhibitors drug class. The latter helps the immune system fight cancer by blocking a mechanism used by tumors to escape attack.


GlaxoSmithKline’s malaria vaccine Mosquirix to undergo pilot studies in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi


GlaxoSmithKline’s Mosquirix is set to undergo real-world pilot studies in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, 3 African countries selected by the World Health Organization, starting next year.

The pilots will enroll babies aged between 5 to 17 months. Besides testing the vaccine’s efficacy, the study will also focus upon whether it’s possible or not to deliver 4 doses in the sub-Saharan areas.

World Health Organization selected the three African countries because of their high malaria rates despite broad use of insecticidal bed nets and well-functioning immunization programs.


Takeda partners Harrington Discovery Institute for rare disease therapeutics development


Pharma company Takeda has partnered with Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, to advance breakthrough therapeutic discoveries in rare diseases.

Under the agreement, Takeda will leverage Harrington Discovery Institute’s established operating model to set up a new programme to advance the development of medicines for rare diseases.

The Harrington programme will assist US MD and PhD researchers to carry out disruptive and transformative research, that may lead to the development of new treatments.

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From 60 Pharma companies to 10 Big Pharma companies in 20 Years

We’ve all heard about Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi and Roche. They’re some of the big guys in the pharma landscape, enjoying increased popularity, splitting the high budgets and revolutionizing the healthcare and pharma industry but what’s the road they took to get here? In order to answer that question, we’re going to analyze the 10 biggest pharma companies nowadays which used to be around 60 distinct companies 20 years ago. Here’s what they did to stand the test of time and grow.



It all dates back to 1970 when Ciba-Geigy was formed by the merger of J. R. Geigy Ltd and CIBA. In 1996, from the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz Laboratories, Novartis was born. In 2005, Novartis acquired Hexal and Eon Labs, thus growing its generic division Sandoz. A year later, in 2006, Novartis acquired full control of Chiron Corp. for USD 5.1 billion. In 2010, Novartis acquired the world’s largest eye-care company Alcon for USD 39.3 billion. Three years later, in 2012, the company bought Fougera Pharmaceuticals for USD 1.5 billion. In 2016, Novartis acquired Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corporation and SelG1 antibody for reduction of pain crises in sickle cell disease (SCD).

AstraZeneca (AZ)

AstraZeneca  was created in 1999 following the merger of Astra and Zeneca Group. In 2004, AZ completed its first big acquisition of Cambridge Antibody Technology. Later on, in 2007, it acquired MedImmune for about USD 15.2 billion. In 2012, AstraZeneca acquired Ardea Biosciences for USD 1.3 billion. One year later, it acquired Amylin from BMS for USD 4.3 billion and in 2015 acquired ZS Pharma for USD 2.7 billion. In 2015, AstraZeneca bought 55% majority stake in Acerta for USD 4 billion.


In 2000, Pfizer acquired American pharmaceutical company Warner–Lambert for USD 111.8 billion to bring its drug, Lipitor, to market. In 2002, Pfizer aimed to acquire full rights to Pharmacia’s product Celebrex and thus agreed to buy Pharmacia for stock valued at USD 60.0 billion. In 2009, Pfizer bought pharmaceutical company Wyeth for USD 68.0 billion. In 2015, Pfizer acquired Hospira for USD 15.2 billion and announced the merger with Allergan. The latter is considered to be one of the biggest mergers in pharma history. In 2016, Pfizer announced the successful completion of its acquisition of Medivation.


Sanofi resulted from the merger between Sanofi-Synthélabo and Aventis in 2004. The former was created in 1999 when Sanofi merged with Synthélabo. Aventis was formed in 1999 following the merger of Rhône-Poulenc S.A. with Hoechst Marion Roussel (HMR). The latter itself was formed in 1995 from the merger of Hoechst AG with Cassella, Roussel Uclaf and Marion Merrell Dow.

In 2011, Sanofi-Aventis acquired Genzyme and changed its name to Sanofi.

Johnson & Johnson

J&J was founded in 1886 as a medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods company. The pharmaceutical division is made up of Janssen & Cilag. In 2006, Janssen acquired the consumer healthcare business of Pfizer for USD 16.6 billion in what is considered to be the company’s largest M&A deals. In 2013, the company acquired Aragon Pharma and in 2014 it bought Alios BioPharma, Inc. for USD 1.75 billion.

Merck & Co.

Merck was founded in 1668 and is the world’s oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical company. Merck & Co. was established as a subsidiary of Merck in 1891, but became an independent company in 1917. It is known as MSD (Merck Sharp and Dohme) outside of North America. In 1993, Merck purchased Medco Containment Services Inc. for USD 6 billion. In 2009, Merck merged with Schering-Plough. The latter had acquired Organon from Akzo Nobel in 2007 while Organon resulted from a merger between Diosynth and Organon in 2004. Ten years later, Merck bought Cubist Pharmaceuticals for USD 8.4 billion.


Roche’s first acquisition took place in 1994 when the company bought Syntex Corporation for USD 5.3 billion. In 2002, Roche’s Japanese subsidiary Nippon Roche merged with Chugai. Following the deal, Roche got a majority stake in the Japanese company. In 2008, Roche acquired Ventana Medical Systems for USD 3.4 billion and in 2009, the company bought Genentech for USD 46.8 billion.


Teva resulted from the merger between Assia, Zori and Teva in 1976. In 2006, Teva completed its first big acquisition of IVAX Corporation for USD 7.4 billion. In 2011, it acquired Cephalon for USD 6.8 billion. After acquiring Auspex Pharma for USD 3.5 billion in 2015, Teva completed its acquisition of Allergan’s generics business (“Actavis Generics”) in 2016.

Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences was founded in June 1987. Over the past 16 years, the company has made several acquisitions. The biggest ones include: CV Therapeutics for USD 1.4 billion in 2009 and USD 10.4 billion acquisition of Pharmasset in 2011.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

GSK was founded in 2000 following the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. In 2001, GSK acquired Block Drug for USD 1.2 billion. In 2009, GSK acquired Stiefel Laboratories for USD 3.6 bn. 4 years later, in 2013, GSK acquired Human Genome Sciences (HGS) for USD 3 billion. In 2015, GSK completed the acquisition of vaccine business of Novartis and sale of its oncology business to the Swiss drug major in a global deal. Under the agreement, GSK Pharma expanded its vaccine portfolio and took over 120 employees from Novartis to boost its sales in India.

There’s so much pharma history behind all of the big names out there and the evolution is far from reaching an end. We’re looking forward to seeing what these pharma giants have in store during the next couple of years and who’s going to lead the way in the M&A sector.

Congress Bookers provides a whole range of services needed to organize a group for a medical congress. On our website, you will find a full list of hotel allotments for the most important medical congresses in 2017, regardless of their location. The biggest congresses next year are:

GSK rethinks incentive programmes after Chinese bribery scandal

Pharma giant fined £297 million after Chinese operation is found guilty of paying bribes to doctors

Pictured: GSK chief executive Sir Andrew Witty

Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been fined almost £300 million after a Chinese court found it guilty of bribery.

The penalty, a £297m (3 billion RMB) fine, follows allegations that the drug company’s Chinese operation GSK China Investment Co (GSKCI) paid bribes to doctors and hospitals in order to have their products promoted.

The guilty verdict was delivered after a one-day trial at a court in Changsha, and GSK said it had taken steps to change incentive schemes to prevent a repeat.

In a statement the company said: “GSK has co-operated fully with the authorities and has taken steps to comprehensively rectify the issues identified at the operations of GSKCI. This includes fundamentally changing the incentive programme for its salesforces (decoupling sales targets from compensation); significantly reducing and changing engagement activities with healthcare professionals; and expanding processes for review and monitoring of invoicing and payments.

The illegal activities of GSKCI are a clear breach of GSK’s governance and compliance procedures; and are wholly contrary to the values and standards expected from GSK employees.”

Sir Andrew Witty, GSK’s chief executive, last year announced that the company would no longer pay doctors to attend medical conferences or give lectures promoting its drugs.

He added: “Reaching a conclusion in the investigation of our Chinese business is important, but this has been a deeply disappointing matter for GSK.”

The British former boss of GSK in China was handed a three-year prison sentence, suspended for four years, after pleading guilty to the bribery-related charges.

Mark Reilly is set to be deported back to the UK after being accused of overseeing a “criminal godfather” scheme where doctors were bribed with money and sex to prescribe GSK drugs.

GSK is attempting to clarify Reilly’s sentence and ensure his return to the UK. A Chinese government source was quoted as saying that Reilly “will be deported so he won’t be in detention in China”.

Four other senior Chinese executives at GSK were also given similar suspended sentences.

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