Bay Area biotech CEO convicted of siphoning off $2.6M to buy a home; Merck wins Alzheimer’s nod for insomnia pill

→ A Bay Area biotech exec has been convicted of defrauding his own company. The US attorney’s office says that Lawrence Gerrans was convicted on several counts, including lying to the FBI. Gerrans was CEO of Sanovas, a medical device company, where he was accused of siphoning off $2.6 million in order to buy a home in San Anselmo.

→ It will be months (at least) before we know if the FDA will approve aducanumab as a treatment to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s, but another symptomatic treatment has arrived. Merck‘s insomnia medication Belsomra (suvorexant) has been given an expanded label to cover people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty sleeping, and a study last year showed Alzheimer’s patients taking the drug had improved total sleep time and wakefulness after sleep onset. Eisai‘s new insomnia med, Dayvigo, is also being tested in Alzheimer’s patients.

Merck — one of the last large biopharmaceutical bastions lingering in the blood-splattered field of antibiotics — has petitioned the FDA to expand the use of its recently-approved combination antibiotic Recarbrio. In July, the therapy was given the green light for use in complicated urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections. On Tuesday, the FDA accepted for review the use of the therapy in patients with hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia infections. The agency is expected to make its decision by June 4.

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