Merger to form Indian giant
Top Indian drug firm Sun Pharmaceutical Industries said yesterday that it had agreed to buy its troubled peer Ranbaxy for US$4 billion in stock, ending its ill-fated six years controlled by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo. The deal will create India’s biggest drug manufacturer by far and leave Daiichi Sankyo with a significant stake in the combined entity. Daiichi Sankyo bought Ranbaxy in 2008, believing its dominance in cheap generic medicines and developing markets would help the firm grow. However, the Indian company has been a weight on Daiichi’s books ever since due to its regulatory problems. The US, one of Ranbaxy Laboratories’ biggest markets, has slapped import bans on its manufacturing plants for failing to meet “good manufacturing practices.” Sun Pharmaceuticals said they intended to work hard to get the banned facilities recertified.
China drives Audi sales
The world’s second-largest maker of luxury cars, Audi AG, said sales surged 15 percent last month, joining rival Mercedes-Benz in posting the best single month ever for deliveries on rising demand in China. Audi’s registrations gained to 170,450 vehicles last month, the German automaker said in a statement yesterday. Mercedes-Benz, the third-largest maker of premium cars, said last week that demand climbed 13 percent last month on sales of its new compact cars and top-of-the-line S-Class. Audi, which reported its 51st straight monthly sales gain last month, Mercedes and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s No. 1 seller of luxury cars, are posting increases as the European auto market recovers from a six-year slump, and demand rises in China and the US. Audi’s last month sales in China advanced 37 percent.
Pfizer touts cancer drug
An experimental drug has shown encouraging results in treating advanced breast cancer in an early clinical trial, Pfizer said on Sunday. Pfizer, the world’s second-largest drugmaker, said the drug prevented breast cancer from worsening for 20.2 months in a trial involving 165 patients. Current medications do so for 10.2 months. The drug, known as palbociclib, is among a new class of cancer drugs that target specific proteins to block tumors. Wall Street analysts have been closely watching the tests given the potential market for palbociclib. Breast cancer is the most common cancer to strike women.
Pope to reform Vatican bank
Pope Francis has decided that the troubled Vatican bank, which he had in the past not excluded closing, will remain operative and he has approved recommendations for its future, the Vatican said yesterday. The bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), has been beset by a series of scandals in past decades, including money-laundering allegations. “The IOR will continue to serve with prudence and provide specialized financial services to the Catholic Church worldwide,” a statement said. The statement said the pope had approved a proposal on the future of the IOR from various commissions and by Australian Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy. It said a “plan to ensure that the IOR can fulfill its mission as part of the new financial structures of Holy See” will be drawn up for the pope, who has stressed that the bank be transparent.