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Arrowhead buys Novartis? RNAi portfolio
5 Mar 2015 at 4:36am
Arrowhead Research Corp said it acquired Novartis AG's RNAi assets to fortify its position in the field of gene therapy that aims to wipe out disease-causing proteins. The deal gives Arrowhead the freedom to operate in any target for any indication, strengthening the belief that RNAi therapeutics is a bilateral field - there's Alnylam and there's Arrowhead, Chief Executive Christopher Anzalone told Reuters. Novartis is eligible to receive $25 million in Arrowhead shares within 30 days, which would make it the second-largest shareholder based on Arrowhead's market value on Wednesday. French drugmaker Sanofi SA bought a 12 percent stake in Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc for $700 million last year.
Washington state cannabis retailer opens in defiance of county ban
5 Mar 2015 at 4:31am
By Eric M. Johnson PARKLAND, Wash. (Reuters) - Sealed bags of marijuana dangle behind a counter, curved glass pipes glimmer on shelves, and a steady trickle of middle-aged customers gleefully buys cannabis strains nicknamed Charlie Sheen and Godzilla. "The Gallery" is similar to more than 100 other lawful state-licensed marijuana retail shops and hundreds of medical dispensaries in Washington state, with one exception: It is operating in defiance of local law. Its opening on Sunday set up a potential showdown with authorities in Pierce County, about an hour outside Seattle, which has effectively banned recreational pot shops in unincorporated areas so long as the drug remains illegal under federal law, even as medical pot businesses flourish virtually unregulated. "We didn't do this to pick a fight with the county," said co-owner Tedd Wetherbee, 47, in between chatting up customers in his shop in Parkland, in unincorporated Pierce County.
Mallinckrodt to buy private respiratory drug and device maker for $2.3 billion
5 Mar 2015 at 4:28am
(Reuters) - Mallinckrodt Plc said it would buy privately held Ikaria Inc, a maker of a respiratory drug and its delivery system, for $2.3 billion to expand its current offering of specialty products and critical care treatments. The deal is expected to add at least $150 million to Mallinckrodt's sales and 25 cents per share to its profit for the year ending September, the company said on Thursday. Hampton, New Jersey-based Ikaria is owned by a group of investors led by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC. ...
Guinea to start final trials of Ebola vaccines this week
5 Mar 2015 at 4:19am
By Kate Kelland and Tom Miles LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) - Final stage trials of an Ebola vaccine being developed by Merck and NewLink Genetics will begin in Guinea on March 7, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. Signaling global health authorities' determination to see through trials despite a sharp drop in cases in the West Africa epidemic, the WHO said a second shot, developed by GlaxoSmithKline will be tested "in a sequential study, as supply becomes available". Nearly 500 health workers have been among the dead in what is the worst ever Ebola epidemic. All three worst-hit countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - aim to conduct final-stage trials of vaccines, and Liberia is already testing the GlaxoSmithKline and Merck-NewLink shots, while Sierra Leone is expected to announce plans soon.
Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia
5 Mar 2015 at 4:19am
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) ? Liberia released its last Ebola patient, a 58-year old English teacher, from a treatment center in the capital on Thursday, beginning its countdown to being declared Ebola free.
WHO to begin large-scale testing of Ebola vaccine in Guinea
5 Mar 2015 at 3:36am
LONDON (AP) ? The World Health Organization will start large-scale testing of an experimental Ebola vaccine in Guinea on Saturday to see how effective it might be in preventing future outbreaks of the deadly virus.
Decades after war, Vietnam and the U.S. battle a legacy of bombs
5 Mar 2015 at 2:48am
By Nguyen Ha Minh TRIEU PHONG, Vietnam (Reuters) - Red skull-and-crossbones markers dot the horizon in a barren patch of land in Vietnam where missteps could be fatal. The signs warn of landmines and bombs, the legacy of a war with the United States that claims casualties even today, four decades after hostilities ceased in 1975. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) has since killed 42,000 people and wounded 62,000 in Vietnam, according to official data. Quang Tri province, once the demilitarized zone between the communist North and the Washington-backed democratic South, remains one of the world's most dangerous places.
Special Report: As heroin trade grows, a sting in Kenya
5 Mar 2015 at 2:30am
By Drazen Jorgic MOMBASA (Reuters) - One evening last November, a handful of policemen in Kenya's sweltering port city of Mombasa were handpicked to help in the final stages of a U.S.-led drugs sting that spanned three continents. The quarry that night were the alleged leaders of the "Akasha organization." The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had spent years infiltrating Akasha and alleges that the gang is part of a heroin supply chain that stretches from the poppy fields of Afghanistan through east Africa to the cities of Europe and the United States. Inside a mansion girded by palm trees and a two-meter cobblestone wall, police captured the alleged leader of the crime syndicate, Baktash Akasha, his brother Ibrahim, and two other men. Kenyan police charged them with trafficking narcotics to the United States.
Kenya's home-grown drug problem
5 Mar 2015 at 2:30am
(Reuters) - Drug use in Kenya has risen fast in the past few years, according to religious leaders, politicians and charities working to tackle the problem. They say domestic use has soared as international drug cartels have turned east Africa into a major transit route for narcotics from Afghanistan. Juma Ngao, a director at Kenya's National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) said the Indian Ocean port towns of Mombasa, Malindi and Lamu have been hardest hit because most drug shipments come by sea. "There is an easy market for drugs on the coast," said Phylis Mwema, who runs a youth rehabilitation organization in Mombasa.
As heroin trade grows, a sting in Kenya
5 Mar 2015 at 2:28am
By Drazen Jorgic MOMBASA (Reuters) - One evening last November, a handful of policemen in Kenya's sweltering port city of Mombasa were handpicked to help in the final stages of a U.S.-led drugs sting that spanned three continents. The quarry that night were the alleged leaders of the "Akasha organisation." The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had spent years infiltrating Akasha and alleges that the gang is part of a heroin supply chain that stretches from the poppy fields of Afghanistan through east Africa to the cities of Europe and the United States. Inside a mansion girded by palm trees and a two-metre cobblestone wall, police captured the alleged leader of the crime syndicate, Baktash Akasha, his brother Ibrahim, and two other men. Kenyan police charged them with trafficking narcotics to the United States.
EU court rules Boston Scientific must pay pacemaker replacement surgery
5 Mar 2015 at 2:18am
U.S. medical device maker Boston Scientific Corp's German arm is liable for the cost of operations to replace potentially defective pacemakers, Europe's top court ruled on Thursday. The European Court of Justice ruled that, where a medical device has a potential defect, it is possible to classify as defective all products of the same model. The German company, an importer of Boston Scientific pacemakers and now a subsidiary of the U.S. company, informed physicians in 2005 that a hermetic sealing component might experience gradual degradation, leading to premature battery depletion. The European Court was asked by Germany's Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof) to rule whether a product should be classified as defective based solely on quality controls showing the risk of a problem without having to determine whether a replaced item itself was in fact flawed.
No new Ebola cases in Liberia last week: WHO
5 Mar 2015 at 2:16am
Ebola-ravaged Liberia has for the first time since last May gone a full week without reporting any new confirmed cases of the devastating virus, according to World Health Organization data. Liberia "reported no new confirmed cases" during the week to March 1, the UN health agency said in a report late Wednesday. Of those, 9,249 cases including 4,117 deaths, were in Liberia, which six months ago was reporting more than 300 new cases each week. Of 45 samples tested nationwide last week, none were positive, WHO said, adding that it was first time there had been no new confirmed cases since May 26, 2014.
Emirates says has had extensive A380neo discussions
5 Mar 2015 at 2:10am
Emirates [EMIRA.UL] has had extensive discussions with Airbus about the production of a revamped version of the A380 super jumbo with more efficient engines, the airline's president said on Thursday. Emirates, which is the leading buyer of the existing A380 jet with 140 orders, has said it would look at placing an order for up to 200 A380neo jets to replace its current fleet and drive further expansion. "If we're lucky it will give us a 10-13 percent reduction in seat costs per mile," Emirates President Tim Clark told reporters at an event during the ITB travel fair in Berlin. Clark also said Emirates was considering Rolls-Royce engines for 50 of its Airbus A380 aircraft that are yet to be delivered.
Fate of Obama health law subsidies rests with 2 justices
5 Mar 2015 at 1:51am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? The Supreme Court argument over subsidies that help millions of people afford their health insurance suggests that the Obama administration has two chances to attract one critical vote.
SF hospital performing kidney swap chain involving 12 people
5 Mar 2015 at 1:50am
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? In a rare series of interlinked operations, six patients are getting kidney transplants from six donors at a San Francisco hospital.