First Multi-Lingual Cancer Patient Community

The first ever multi-lingual social networking site dedicated exclusively to cancer patients, esperity, launched recently. The site aims to connect those with cancer to an online environment to find their “medical twins” (those with similar types of cancer) in an effort to improve awareness, as well as to create bonds and eliminate feelings of social isolation.

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Stryker to Buy Mako

Medical device manufacturer Stryker is acquiring Mako Surgical for $1.41 billion. According to the Washington Post, Stryker will gain access to Mako’s robotic-assisted surgery technology, putting the deal between the two companies valued at roughly $1.65 billion. Stryker will pay $30 per Mako share. It is estimated that after the first full year of the acquisition, Stryker’s shares will be neutral to earnings, followed by added earnings directly after that.

Merck Redesigns, Cuts Jobs

Merck announced a global initiative to improve its commercial and R&D focus. In addition to previous reductions of 7,500 employees, the redesign calls for another reduction of 8,500 employees. The initiative allows Merck to target its resources towards opportunities delivering the greatest ROI, bolster its pipeline and reduce costs. They expect to gain roughly $2.5 billion in savings by the end of 2015.

Novo Nordisk Supports New Guidelines

A new set of the Guiding Principles on Access to Healthcare (GPAH) released by Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) in collaboration with 13 pharmaceutical company CEOs, involves a set of new principles comprising an industry-led call for more cross-sector collaboration to expand access to quality healthcare. In participation with the BSR Healthcare Working Group, Novo Nordisk helped develop the GPAH and will help with best practices for putting the new principles into effect.

Arteriocyte $101.1 Million Bandage Contract

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded leading biotechnology company Arteriocyte, Inc., a $101.1 million contract to support R&D of the Magellan Bio-Bandage. With this product, Arteriocyte hopes to improve the existing standard of care in the treatment of definitive burns. The two-year base contract, set initially at $11.8 million by The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), includes funding for manufacturing and inventory scale up so that the company can provide an immediate supply of the product for rapid medical use.

MiMedx Distribution Agreement with Medtronic

MiMedx Group, Inc., recently announced a distribution agreement with Medtronic, Inc., and SpinalGraft Technologies, LLC (a subsidiary of Medtronic). MiMedx Group develops regenerative biomaterials and bioimplants processed from human amniotic membrane. Through the agreement, MiMedx will provide its Purion processed allograft products to Medtronic to be marketed by SpinalGraft Technologies. The allografts are spinal applications that will be private-labeled by SpinalGraft, and marketed and promoted throughout the United States.

Lions Health Names Jury Presidents

The Lions Health festival is a two-day event that celebrates creative communication in pharma, healthcare and wellness. Lions Health has just announced the first ever jury presidents for the festival: Kathy Delaney, Global Chief Creative Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness; and Jeremy Perrot, Global Chief Creative Officer of McCann Health. Delaney will be in charge of the Health & Wellness jury, while Perrot will lead the Pharma Category. The Lions Health festival will take place from June 13 to 14, 2014 in Cannes, France.

Judgment in Favor of Takeda

Takeda Pharmaceuticals responded to the judgment that was entered in favor of the company in the case of An, et al. v. Takeda. Mr. An’s development of bladder cancer while using Takeda’s Actos (for type 2 diabetes control) was ruled as the result of his own risk factors, including age and smoking history, rather than as a result of using Actos. Takeda’s Senior Vice President Kenneth. D. Greisman says, “Patient safety is a critical priority for Takeda.”

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