Samsung and Merck launch Remicade biosim at 35% discount

After the first biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson’s big-selling immunology drug Remicade hit the market last year at a modest discount, another has come along with a much deeper pricing slash. Samsung and marketing partner Merck & Co. Monday launched their Renflexis in the U.S. at a 35% markdown to the blockbuster J&J anti-inflammatory med. Their move follows last year’s launch by Pfizer for its version, Inflectra, at a 15% discount. The prices are before negotiated rebates. As J&J’s top-selling med, Remicade brought in nearly $5 billion in the U.S. last year. With those critical sales under threat, the company has moved to defend its superstar in court and elsewhere.

Endo cuts 875 more jobs by closing Alabama manufacturing site

Endo has decided that the 350 jobs it whacked from its Huntsville, Alabama, manufacturing site last year were not nearly enough. The drugmaker said it will close operations there instead, cutting 875 more jobs.  Endo will take pretax restructuring charges of approximately $325 million and expects to see between $55 million and $65 million in annual net pretax cost savings by Q4 2018. About 840 remaining employees will lose their jobs. The 875 in cuts include 35 positions that have been left unfilled. The plant had employed about 1,250 until last year when Endo laid off about 350 employees.

With Viagra and Lyrica fading, analysts downgrade Pfizer due to mounting challenges

Having failed twice to complete an inversion in recent years, Pfizer is a bit of a precarious position. On Friday, the firm downgraded its rating for the pharma giant, citing a few weak points in its business going forward. ED drug Viagra is coming off patent later this year, while nerve pain treatment Lyrica will follow at the end of next year. Sales for blockbuster pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13 are on a slide, and breast cancer med Ibrance’s growth is slowing. Together, Viagra and Lyrica brought in $4.2 billion in the U.S. last year. Knowing all of this, Pfizer has made moves to “boost its inorganic growth” through takeouts of Anacor and Medivation, but drugs brought in from those moves won’t offset existing problems, according to Credit Suisse.

Corning plans $500M pharma glass project that Trump announced

U.S. manufacturer Corning said it is time the pharmaceutical industry has new, more durable glass for its new injected medicines, and with input and commitments from Pfizer and Merck & Co., it intends to produce it in the U.S. Its plan to make an initial investment of $500 million and hire 1,000 employees was made by President Trump at the White House as part of his “Made in America” events this week. “This initiative will bring a key industry to our shores which for too long has been dominated by foreign countries,” Trump said, explaining that 98% of the industry is currently overseas. That investment includes expanding Corning facilities in Corning, New York, and Vineland, New Jersey, and building a new manufacturing plant at a yet to be disclosed location in the Southeast. Eventually, Corning could invest up to $4 billion and hire up to 4,000 new employees, it said Thursday.