Companies team up for new drug

first_imgTRENTON, N.J. – Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp., partners looking to grab more of the $32 billion global cholesterol-drug market, will jointly develop a new medicine combining their Zetia with rival Pfizer Inc.’s blockbuster Lipitor. The planned drug, meant to reduce bad cholesterol levels in two ways, could hit the market when Lipitor’s patent expires in a few years, Merck and Schering-Plough said Monday. Information on when human testing would begin was not disclosed. News of the deal pushed up Schering-Plough’s shares more than 2 percent, while Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck shares dipped about 1 percent. Merck and Schering-Plough have a seven-year-old joint venture that markets two cholesterol drugs: Schering-Plough’s Zetia and a combo pill launched in mid-2004 called Vytorin. It combines Zetia and Zocor, Merck’s former blockbuster, which lost patent protection in June 2006. Zetia is the only drug on sale that limits absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. Zocor, like other drugs in a popular class called statins, limits cholesterol production in the liver. The Merck-Schering-Plough joint venture promotes Vytorin heavily, stressing that it fights cholesterol in two ways. “We anticipate that the Lipitor/Zetia combination may be more effective than Vytorin on cholesterol reduction and could capture an even larger share of the cholesterol-management market than Vytorin,” analyst Joseph Tooley of A.G. Edwards wrote in a research note. Halit Bander, the head of New York-based Pfizer’s Lipitor medical team, said the company can’t speculate on how the new combination would work. Schering-Plough spokeswoman Mary-Fran Faraji said combining Zetia with any statin reduces cholesterol levels about an extra 20 percent, roughly three times as much benefit as just doubling a statin’s dose. “This will present, if it’s approved, an additional option for physicians and patients,” she said. “There are really tremendous unmet needs in cholesterol management.” Heart disease remains the country’s No. 1 killer and many patients are unable to reduce their level of bad cholesterol – and with it cardiac risk – as much as doctors recommend. Meanwhile, new studies reported Monday that a complementary strategy of trying to stave off heart disease by boosting good cholesterol didn’t work well and had safety problems. Lipitor, the world’s top-selling drug, currently is protected by two patents, one facing a legal challenge, according to Pfizer. It is not expected to face generic competition until March 2010 or later. Last year, Lipitor brought Pfizer $12.9 billion in revenues worldwide, more than three times the combined sales for Zetia and Vytorin of $3.86 billion.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Cheteshwar Pujara: Different feeling to see my daughter around in the evenings

first_imgCheteshwar Pujara is back in form and he is a happy man. His patient 72 and 113-run partnership with Virat Kohli helped India set England a daunting 521-run target in the third Test at Trent Bridge.England now have two days to either bat for a draw or clinch a historic victory. But a win seems unlikely on a pitch that Pujara described has now started showing signs of variable bounce. After failing in tough conditions at Lord’s and playing an uncharacteristic shot in the first innings at Trent Bridge, Pujara was thrilled to contribute to India’s dominant position.There was also another reason for his wide smile at the end of the day – Pujara’s wife Puja and daughter Aditi are present in England cheering him on. Pujara and Puja became proud parents in February this year.England vs India, 3rd Test, day 4: Live UpdatesHowever, as happy as he is to see them, Cheteshwar Pujara has had to take a separate room so he can get some sleep at night during a high-pressure Test series.”I am sleeping in another room so that I can get some sleep at night but I have started changing the diapers and it’s always good to have my wife Puja around and even Aditi.. I feel blessed to see her around and when I see her in the evenings, it’s a different feeling altogether,” Pujara told bcci.tv. Not just Puja, Virat Kohli’s wife Anushka Sharma has also been present in England to cheer for the Indian captain. On Monday, when Kohli brought up his second hundred of the series, he blew kisses to Anushka who stood up and applauded from the stands.advertisementPujara, meanwhile, realised he missed out on a hundred at Trent Bridge but he was happy to be back among the runs.Great to watch Virat Kohli bat from the other end: Cheteshwar PujaraIt wasn’t easy not scoring runs in the first couple of Tests (he did not play at Edgbaston). I was batting well and I was very confident. The shot in the first innings wasn’t on the cards but the way I was timing the ball I thought I could play the shot.. but I got out, I accepted that and I moved on,” Pujara said. “Because the way I had been batting in the last couple of months I thought I was a big innings away. I missed out on a hundred but at the same time, I am happy I scored a valuable 72 for the team.”Pujara said the pitch has quickened up as the Test match has progressed with some variable bounce in it. He reckoned India have a good chance of winning the Test at Trent Bridge.”We have got a good chance.. there are enough dents on the pitch… there’s variable bounce. Ashwin got a little bit of spin as well (on Day 3). Our bowlers need to bowl in the same areas,” he said.last_img read more