Gen-Probe has obtained expanded FDA clearance to use its Procleix Ultrio assay in screening donated blood for the hepatitis B virus. The agency previously approved the assay for use in examining donated blood for HIV-1 and the hepatitis C virus. Gen-Probe said the expanded approval will allow it to receive a milestone payment of $10 million from Chiron.
CMS officials said the average monthly premium for the Medicare Part D drug plan will increase to about $28 in 2009. The increase was driven by soaring prices of prescription medicines, as well as "higher-than-anticipated costs" for drug distributors that cover catastrophic care, said Kerry Weems, acting administrator of CMS.
Patients treated with Tenacrine, a generic version of tacrolimus, after their first kidney transplant had a greater likelihood of rejecting the organ than did those treated with Prograf, the nongeneric version, according to the findings of a three-year study. About twice as many patients on the generic version developed acute rejection. Children younger than 10 years and with heart disease had a greater probability of rejecting the organ regardless of which drug they were given.
A British hospital is investing more than $18 million in its pathology lab, using automation to carry out blood tests so it can increase its testing capacity. The lab says that when it opens late next year, it will guarantee results in one hour for acute departments.
Australia's Murdoch University and Epichem, a partnering medicinal chemistry company, received $3 million from the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, a global, collaborative nonprofit, to boost its Chagas' disease research program. The university's Parasitology Research Group will lead the research and will be the only center in the southern hemisphere screening drugs against the major diseases transmitted through vectors.