drug pipeline

Top-Selling Drugs About to Lose Patent Protection

The pharmaceutical industry is about to fall off a cliff -- a patent cliff. Over the next few years, some of the world's most popular and lucrative medicines will go off patent, and generic competition will siphon an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars from companies' bottom lines. Here's a rundown:

Pharma News Briefs: Human Genome, Merck, Novartis

Here's a roundup of some of Wednesday's major pharmaceutical news: An FDA panel gave Human Genome Sciences a boost with a thumbs-up for its lupus drug, Benlysta; Merck's experimental heart drug appears to work well without side effects; and Novartis announced its plans for long-term growth.

Novartis Halts Two Drug Development Programs

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis announced Tuesday that it had discontinued the development of two drugs -- the hepatitis C treatment Zalbin, and antifungal agent Mycograb. The company will take impairment charges of approximately $590 million in third quarter of 2010.

Sanofi-Aventis Inks 10-Year R&D Deal with Covance

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis announced a 10-year agreement with Covance on Thursday under which the Princeton, N.J.-based contract research firm will provide it with drug development services. Sanofi-Aventis will pay Covance between $1.2 billion to $2.2 billion.

Setback for Roche and Immunogen Breast Cancer Drug

The FDA denied accelerated approval of Roche's trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) license application. T-DM1 is a potential breast cancer treatment. Roche will continue with its trials and plans a global regulatory submission in mid-2012.