Industry Briefs August 2015

Practice Fusion Adds Four Top Industry Veterans


To expand its leadership bench, Practice Fusion, the leader in cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) platform for doctors and patients, recently brought on four industry veterans from the technology and health sectors. The new hires, who mostly hail from Fortune 500 companies, include Matt Ackley, the new Chief Marketing Officer, who formerly worked with Google and eBay; Dorothy Gemmell, a former Senior Vice President (SVP) at WebMD, who joins as SVP, Life Science Practice and Strategic Partnerships; Tim Rauschenbach, formerly with United Health Group and Amazon joins as Vice President, Customer Service and Support; and Dave Caldwell, a former executive at Quest Diagnostics joins as Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions.

The company also named Alan Black to its Board of Directors to serve as the Chairperson of the Audit Committee. By adding the experience of these industry vets to its leadership team, Practice Fusion plans to expand its reach and service, continue growth and move the momentum forward to achieve long-term business goals.

Merck Sells CGRP Migraine Drugs to Allergan

In the competitive race to be the first company to market a CGRP migraine drug, Merck recently forfeited its position. Instead, the company sold its two experimental pipeline drugs along with its portfolio to Allergan for $250 million.

The buyout places Allergan at the head of the migraine treatment race. Allergan gains the rights to Merck’s Phase III ready oral drug MK-1602, along with MK-8031, which is just shy of Phase II. In the meantime, the two companies are privately working out royalties. Allergan paid Merck $125 million up front in cash for the buyout. The deal is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016.

David Nicholson, EVP, Global Brands R&D at Allergan, said in a statement, “With two novel oral therapies in development for treating and preventing migraines, we have the opportunity to provide therapies that could alleviate an intensely debilitating and immobilizing condition for patients worldwide. We look forward to supporting the continued development of these programs and to potentially bringing these new therapies to market.”

Horizon Proposes Depomed Buyout

In a deal valued at approximately $3 billion, Horizon Pharma offered to acquire all outstanding shares of the pharma company, Depomed. The deal would allow Horizon Pharma to inherit the entirety of the company’s stock, including Depomed’s debt. One reason Horizon is pursuing the deal is to reaffirm its commitment to developing treatments for disorders of the central nervous system, adding to its portfolio in the specialty drug market.

However, to this point Depomed has been reluctant to accept the deal. The company’s Board of Directors unanimously rejected Horizon’s proposal, believing it undervalues the company. Horizon, which owns 1% of Depomed stock, is now seeking to replace the directors of Depomed and plans file a lawsuit challenging a “poison pill plan” adopted by Depomed to fend off the takeover, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, Depomed plans to file a lawsuit of its own asking for an injunction against Horizon from making more “false and misleading statements.”

Incyte Collaborates to Develop New Cancer Treatments

Entering into a multi-year collaboration agreement with Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) for research support, Incyte is pumping up efforts to research and develop new oncology treatment therapies.

The company’s hope is that the collaboration will help development of new treatments by improving understanding of the basic fundamentals of cancer biology, and the mechanisms of action of Incyte-proprietary compounds. The three-year research collaboration will be funded by Incyte—with an option to extend the partnership beyond three years.

Teva Drops Mylan Offer For Allergan Unit

After several failed attempts to acquire Mylan, Teva turned its attention elsewhere—acquiring Allergan Generics for $40.5 billion. The deal has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both Teva and Allergan and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. Once completed, the deal will help solidify Teva’s position as the top generics manufacturer, while allowing Allergan to focus on branded products.


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