Trending News Today: Big Pharma Teams Up for Early-stage Parkinson's Disease Drug

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

For the first time, study findings suggest that high levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is associated with excessive mortality in the general population. According to The New York Times, Danish investigators tracked more than 116,508 men and women for an average of 6 years, citing 10,678 deaths. After adjusting for factors, the findings showed an HDL-C of 73 milligrams per deciliter in men and 93 milligrams per deciliter in women was associated with the lowest all-cause mortality. Among men with HDL-C levels of 97 to 115, participants had a 36% increased risk of death, and twice the risk above 116, the NY Times reported. Women with HDL-C levels greater than 135 had a 68% increased risk. Low HDL-C was also tied to a higher mortality risk, with levels below 39 associated with a greater increased risk of death.

AstraZeneca is partnering with Takeda Pharmaceutical to co-develop an early-stage drug to treat Parkinson’s disease, according to Reuters. MEDI1341 is an antibody treatment set to enter phase 1 clinical trials later this year. Both companies will share equally future development and commercialization costs for MEDI1341, and any future revenues. As part of the deal, AstraZeneca will receive $400 million from Takeda, which includes initial revenue in 2017, Reuters reported. AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos told Reuters, “By combining our scientific expertise and sharing the risks and costs of development, we hope to accelerate the advancement of MEDI1341 as a promising new approach to support the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease around the world.”

Gilead Sciences announced Monday that it will pay $11.9 billion to acquire Kite Pharma to gain access to the groundbreaking cancer therapy, CAR-T. Gilead has come under congressional investigation for the high cost of its blockbuster hepatitis C drug, and this new acquisition could fuel further debate, according to The Washington Post. The potential price tag for the drug is currently unclear, as the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.