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MWV acquires AARDEX Group

MeadWestvaco Corporation, a global leader in packaging and packaging solutions, announced today that it is expanding its leading position in adherence packaging with the acquisition of AARDEX Group SA.

AARDEX Group is the leader and pioneer in the design and use of electronic medication event monitoring systems and applications designed to measure, analyze, and manage patient adherence in clinical drug trials.

“This acquisition builds on MWV's long-standing commitment and scientific approach to showing medication packaging's impact as an important adherence intervention,” said Bruce Thomas, president, MWV Healthcare and Senior Vice President, Global Innovation. “We recognize the critical global need to create packaging solutions that address the issue of medication non-adherence. With the acquisition of AARDEX Group, MWV will now be able to provide customers with a complete range of packaging, data analysis and service solutions that address non-adherence to medications, from phase II clinical trials all the way through commercialization.”

AARDEX Group is led by scientists Dr. Bernard Vrijens and Dr. John Urquhart, who pioneered electronic medication event monitoring, now widely recognized as the gold-standard method for compiling patients' drug dosing histories during clinical trials. A small microcircuit, integrated into the drug package, records the time and date of each opening of the package. This technology has been employed in over 500 clinical research studies conducted by leading universities, public and private research organizations, and numerous research-based pharmaceutical companies. AARDEX Group's work has resulted in the publication of more than 550 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and as well as a vast knowledge base of patient adherence histories. More than 500,000 trial participants have used AARDEX Group's products in such studies.

“The trend to measure patient adherence in the clinical drug development process is clearly growing,” said Dr. Bernard Vrijens, managing director, AARDEX Group and adjunct professor, University of Liège Faculty of Medicine. “MWV's history in and commitment to better patient adherence, its ability to help AARDEX Group scale up its business, and its presence as a global and strategic supplier to many pharmaceutical companies make this a great fit for both companies.”

Dr. Henry Milgrom, MD, professor and director, Ambulatory Pediatric Allergy Program at National Jewish Health, is a leading researcher in allergy and asthma and a proponent of measuring adherence in clinical trials. He states that “unrecognized non-adherence masquerades as drug resistance. The only way to tell apart those patients who do not respond to their medications from others who do not adhere to their treatment protocol is to monitor their level of adherence.” He further adds that “collecting patient adherence information should become an essential part of most clinical trials.”

With the acquisition of AARDEX Group, MWV adds the Medication Event Monitoring Systems (MEMS®) Cap for bottles to its portfolio of adherence-enhancing package designs that currently includes Cerepak®, Helping Hand®, Dosepak®, Dosepak Express®, Med-Easy® and Shellpak® solid oral dose solutions. These packaging solutions have had a positive effect on patient adherence in clinical trials and commercial settings by eliminating double-dosing or omission of dosing.

The AARDEX Group management team will remain in place and the team of 12 employees will become MWV employees. Dr. Bernard Vrijens will serve as managing director, AARDEX, and will engage more broadly with pharmaceutical customers and prospects around adherence strategies in drug development and life-cycle management. Dr. John Urquhart will continue to work in the new organization as Senior Scientific Advisor.
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