AbbVie to buy Allergan

AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company, said it plans to buy Botox maker Allergan for about $63 billion, to help reduce its reliance on blockbuster arthritis treatment Humira.

Humira, the world's best-selling drug, already has cheaper versions available in Europe and has its US patents expiring in 2023.

Who were the 20 highest paid CEOs in 2018?

FiercePharma has calculated the top CEO pay packages in biopharma in 2018. The salaries range from nearly $60 million down to $16 million. Amongst the data are some notable trends. First, no women made the list. Emma Walmsley, Big Pharma’s only women CEO had a pay package of $7.75 million, which if doubled still would not make the top 20. Other Big Pharma CEOs not on the list are Novartis, Roche and Sanofi.

CSL Behring names new COO

Paul McKenzie, who joined Biogen in 2016 as executive vice president of pharmaceutical operations and technology, has been named Chief Operating Officer at CSL Behring in King of Prussia, PA. CSL Behring, a leading global biotech company, saw its share price rise 30% in 2018, helped in part by Haegarda for treating hereditary angioedema, and Idelvion, a factor IX hemophilia B treatment.

Paul will develop strategy and oversee the global supply chain.

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Alexion's Ultomiris and Soliris launch results

Alexion, a global biopharmaceutical company, announced its first quarter earnings last week which included numbers on its recent launches of Ultomiris, a new treatment option for adult patients living with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and Soliris, as a treatment for adult patients with generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) who are anti-acetylcholine receptor (AchR) antibody-positive.

Catalent to purchase Paragon Bioservices

Catalent has bought Paragon Bioservices, a contract development and manufacturing organization for $1.2 billion. This is the second major buyout of a gene therapy manufacturer in the last three weeks.

This deal will get Catalent a newly completed commercial-scale manufacturing facility near Baltimore and position Catalent firmly to capture some of the $40 billion gene therapy market.

2018 top 15 pharmaceutical companies by revenue

There aren’t too many surprises in Fierce Pharma’s list of the top 15 Big Pharma companies in 2018. Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis and Merck & Co were listed in the top 5 with Sanofi slipping 2 spots to number 7 and Gilead slipping 3 spots to number 13. Companies moving up the ranking were Bristol-Myers Squibb who moved up from 15 to 12 after buying Celgene. For next year, keep an eye on Takeda who recently purchased Shire.

Astellas provides Phase 3 data

Astellas, a pharmaceutical company, received FDA approval for Xospata in November 2018. This drug is for treatment of adult patients who have relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia with the FLT3 mutation.

On Monday at American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, Astellas released Phase 3 data that showed that patients lived a median 9.3 months after therapy, compared with 5.6 months for those receiving salvage chemotherapy.