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Novartis Pharma To Add Diagnostics Unit In 2009

Executive Summary

Novartis' pharma division will establish a molecular diagnostics unit in 2009, Pharma CEO Joseph Jimenez announced during a Nov. 19 R&D day

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Biopharma News, In Brief

J&J halts development of once-monthly Risperdal Consta: Johnson & Johnson announced it is pulling the plug on development of the once-monthly version of the atypical antipsychotic Risperdal Consta, the long-acting version of risperidone currently approved for twice-monthly use, partner Alkermes announced Aug. 26. The decision will allow J&J to focus its efforts on directing once-monthly antipsychotic scripts to its newly approved once-monthly Invega Sustenna (paliperidone palmitate) (1"The Pink Sheet" DAILY, Aug. 3, 2009). Invega has not done well commercially, and J&J is hoping the long-acting version will improve its share based on the compliance advantage (2"The Pink Sheet," July 27, 2009). Another factor that may have played into J&J streamlining its efforts: future competition from Lilly, which also is pursuing a long-acting injectable version of its best-selling antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine). Lazard analyst Terrence Flynn is maintaining estimates of Consta sales, pending data in 2H09 from J&J's second head-to-head comparison of Invega Sustenna and Risperdal Consta, which uses a higher initiation dose of Sustenna (150 vs. 50 mg); Sustenna failed to show non-inferiority in the first head-to-head against Consta

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