Merrion Pharmaceuticals Plc, a publicly listed product development company, announced the commencement of an oral drug delivery feasibility and option agreement with Rebel Pharmaceuticals, LLC, on two undisclosed compounds. The agreement will evaluate the ability of Merrion's patented GIPET® technology to enhance the compounds' clinical profile and provide a substantially improved product.

Abbott announced positive results from a Phase 2 dose-ranging study of atrasentan, a highly selective endothelin A receptor (ETAR) antagonist in development to help slow chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression in patients with type 2 diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease). Study results suggest that atrasentan, used in conjunction with renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors, may reduce albuminuria (presence of protein in urine) for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Pfizer Inc. announced results from the EMPHASIS-HF trial(1) showing a statistically significant reduction in risk of cardiovascular (CV) death or heart failure (HF) hospitalization for patients with chronic heart failure with mild symptoms treated with Inspra® (eplerenone) versus those given placebo in addition to standard HF therapy. 

Reata Pharmaceuticals and Abbott announced data from a Phase 2b study which suggests that bardoxolone methyl, an investigational treatment for chronic kidney disease (CKD), may reduce the stage of CKD and improve estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and other measures of kidney function in the majority of patients receiving the drug. The data were presented today in a late-breaking oral presentation at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Renal Week Conference in Denver, Colorado.

Forest Laboratories, Inc. announced that Forest Laboratories Holdings Limited, its wholly owned subsidiary, has entered into a definitive collaboration and distribution agreement for Bystolic(R) (nebivolol) and Savella(R) (milnacipran HCl) in Canada with Janssen Pharmaceutica, NV and Janssen Pharmaceutical respectively, on behalf of Janssen Inc., which will market the products in Canada.