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FDA Delays Cadence Drug Review: BioBuzz

SAN DIEGO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Another U.S. Food and Drug Administration drug review -- delayed.

This time, it's Cadence Pharmaceuticals (CADX), which said Friday that FDA is pushing back review of its intravenous acetaminophen by three months. The new approval decision date is now Feb. 12, 2010.

Last week, the FDA also delayed by three months a review of a restless leg syndrome drug by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Xenoport (XNPT - Get Report). The FDA has had difficulty meeting drug approval review deadline this year, in part because of staffing shortages but also because of the agency's renewed focus on drug safety.

Cadence is developing its intravenous acetaminophen for use in hospitalized patients. The drug's U.S. and Canadian marketing rights was licensed from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), which already sells the drug in Europe.

Gilead Benefits From New HIV Treatment Rules

Earlier this week, the European AIDS Clinical Society revised its HIV treatment guidelines, calling on doctors to start treating newly diagnosed HIV patients earlier.

The new European recommendation calls for doctors to begin treating HIV patients when their CD4 counts (a key measure of immune system health) fall to 500. In the past, doctors waited until CD4 counts fell to 350 before beginning treatment. The change comes on the heels of mounting clinical evidence from large studies showing that earlier treatment benefits HIV patients.

The new guidelines are a boon to drug companies that sell HIV medicines, and none will benefit more than Gilead Sciences (GILD - Get Report), given its market-leading HIV drug franchise. Earlier treatment starts for newly diagnosed HIV patients will translate into more HIV patients starting therapy with Gilead's Atripla or Truvada, and for longer durations.
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