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U, Imagine develop pic on drug biz

Story involves ethical issues in industry

Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are developing a thriller about foul play in the pharmaceutical industry.

Imagine co-chair Brian Grazer is producing as yet untitled pic. To be written by Jesse Wigutow with a storyline in the vein of “The Insider” and “Traffic,” project concerns a drug company that discovers a cure for cancer but seeks to suppress it when it proves not to be profitable. Pic documents the ethical struggles that exist within the industry and how the lives of ordinary people are impacted by them.

Project is based on a treatment by Howard Blum.

It’s not the only project about the legal pharmaceuticals trade at U: “Traffic” producer Laura Bickford is also developing a new feature about the conflicts within the pharmaceutical biz. Screenwriter Daniel Therriault, who penned the HBO telepic “Witness Protection,” is writing it.

Overseeing “Pharma” are Universal senior VP of production Donna Langley and production prexy Scott Stuber along with Imagine VP Steve Crystal and creative exec Beth Babyak.

UTA and BenderSpink rep Wigutow. Blum was repped by CAA.

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