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BEECHAM's CARDIOVASCULAR R&D SPENDING TOPS ANTIBIOTICS

Executive Summary

BEECHAM's CARDIOVASCULAR R&D SPENDING TOPS ANTIBIOTICS in fiscal 1985, the firm said in its recently issued annual report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1985. "The momentum of research into non-antibiotics continued to increase with, for example, the division's expenditure on new compounds for various kinds of cardiovascular disease," the British mfr. stated, "rising to the point where it exceeded expenditure on antibiotics." An example of Beecham's R&D emphasis in the cardiovascular area is the firm's new coronary thrombosis agent Eminase (APSAC), an injectable, clot-dissolving compound that "acts rapidly and selectively on the thrombus." The company reports that in clinical trials the drug has achieved a success rate of more than 80%. A study comparing a two-minute injection of Eminase with a one-hour injection of intra-coronary streptokinase is now underway at 15 U.S. hospitals, including the University of Rochester and the University of Utah ("The Pink Sheet" July 22, In Brief). Beecham earlier indicated that one of the drug's unique properties is that it can be administered in a single, five-minute injection into a vein. In a recent Phase II dose-response study of 29 heart attack patients conducted by Victor Marder at the University of Rochester, the drug dissolved coronary clots in about 60% of the patients. The annual report notes that other cardiovascular products in early clinicals include compounds for the treatment of high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease and cerebral vascular disease. The firm is also in clinicals with a calcium antagonist for the control of angina. Discussing its R&D program in the antibiotics area, Beecham noted that it expects its new topical antibiotic Bactroban (mupirocin) to receive approval in the U.S. during the current year. On June 24, FDA's Dermatology Drugs Advisory Cmte. concluded that the drug is effective in treating impetigo and recommended approval ("The Pink Sheet" July 1, p. 8). The company reported that during the fiscal year it began clinical trials with formidacillin, which, after temocillin, is "the second of a new family of compounds based on different nuclei produced by chemical means from the nucleus of penicillin." According to the firm, the injectable antibiotic has an ability to resist destruction by beta-lactamase producing organisms. Referring to the U.S. segment of its pharmaceutical business, Beecham declared that "the most important event of 1984/85 was the launch of Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) in the United States." The report said that by March 31, when the antibiotic had been available for six months, over one million new Rxs had been written for Augmentin by American doctors. "Augmentin had, moreover, achieved a greater market penetration than any comparable product over the same period of time, including what has since become the largest-selling oral antibiotic in money terms in the U.S.," the company declared. Beecham expects to strengthen its U.S. hospital market position with Timentin, a ticarcillin/clavulanic acid combo that employs the same mode of action as Augmentin. Timentin, which received approval this year and was launched last May, "will complement Augmentin in the penetration of this important sector of the U.S. antibiotic market," according to the report. * To market these products, Beecham increased its U.S.-based hospital and general practitioner sales forces during fiscal 1985. "Their combined strength now exceeds 400," the report states.

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