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Archive for January, 2010

TODAY’S NEWS

Pfizer and Merck - top sales forces, and overcharging New York.

Harrison Ford and a movie about a biotech company. Not the next Avatar with ticket sales, apparently.

Big Pharma’s messy pipeline.

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Corporate cultures: Some for Fun and Fun for Some – in which I take on the Grinch and Harvard Business Review! :>}

JUST FOR FUN

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TODAY’S NEWS

Pfizer trimming pipeline projects after Wyeth acquisition – Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker, said Wednesday it is quitting plans to sell popular pain drug Lyrica as an add-on treatment for anxiety as it shaves about 100 projects from its combined portfolio after swallowing rival Wyethmore

AstraZeneca: 8,000 more cuts coming. Ouch - The reduction will take place by 2014 and comes on top of approximately 12,600 jobs the drugmaker has already cut. The jobs will be eliminated from sales and marketing, R&D, and supply chain operations, along with basic infrastructuremore

Cephalon shuffling the executive leadership suite.

Enzon selling specialty pharma biz to Sigma-tau.

Apple’s new iPad – gamechanger for eHealth? I say Yes – here’s why.

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Governments, pharma, and canceling orders. I agree with Vasella’s perspective about binding contracts.

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If you haven’t seen it before – very funny and all too true. The client-vendor relationship (video). Don’t be “that client”!

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Apple just yesterday introduced the iPad, essentially an iPhone on steroids that bridges the gap between smartphones and small computers.

Will this be the platform that accelerates eHealthcare on the provider side (hospitals, doctors, medical education, etc.)?

I say yes. Here’s why:

First of all, the pace at which doctors are using smartphones as part of their practice (and especially iPhone/iPod Touch) is accelerating dramatically, as is uptake/usage of the applications (see here, here). Younger doctors especially will not want to practice untethered medicine.

Second, we are now at a place where the convergence of form factor, power, connectivity, affordability, and functionality argue for widespread adoption. An iPhone screen is pretty small. A laptop is inconvenient. An iPad which can be used for data lookup, data entry, point-of-need multimedia education and reference, and access to electronic health records – what’s not to like?

Third, because Apple knows how to create interfaces, and because app development is now in full swing, this device and its siblings (iPhone and iPod Touch) cross the threshold of easy. That’s crucial for rapid uptake. Also, it’s not a totally “new” device, so many of the potential users will be accustomed to the interface scheme.

Imagine an iPad mounted in hospital patient rooms, and other doctor-useful locations. A physician comes into the room, equipped with an iPhone, and the iPhone sends a signal to the iPad. A quick biometric finger scan and the doctor is “in” the system, with access to all information and medical records necessary for the patient. When the doctor leaves, he/she logs out, or failing that, once his/her iPhone is 20 feet out of range, the system logs the user off. Or the doctor simply carries around an iPad for always-on accessibility during rounds and other daily duties.

It’s not so much that the iPad is a gamechanger in and of itself – it should be an accelerator of trends that are already happening, and inevitable. It’s a right-device-at-the-right-time evolution. It could also be a fabulous tool for a pharma salesforce, but that’s another subject.

(More: Read this post by Christopher Penn, talking about sales and marketing, but note the ease and all-in-one themes. Also this Mashable article, with the payoff in the last paragraph. On the pharma side, I’d guess that Sally Church agrees with me).

Lots of other possibilities come to mind – what do you think? Gamechanger – or big yawn?

[Update: some contrarian points here, and some wait-and-see thoughts here. Mostly valid - but as I mention in the comments, iPad 2.0 will likely address most of these]

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TODAY’S NEWS

Merck losing Temodar patent battle with Teva – A federal court judge ruled Tuesday that a patent for Merck & Co. Inc.‘s Temodar is unenforceable, allowing Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. to sell a generic version of the chemotherapy drug. Israel-based Teva, the world’s largest generic drug maker, is seeking FDA approval to sell a generic version of six doses of the treatment approved for adult patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme and for refractory anaplastic astrocytoma, two forms of brain cancermore

Competition among diabetes franchises. Will competitors make hay over the black box cancer warning on Novo‘s Victoza?

Hey, clinical investigator – no pre-approval promotion (says FDA). What do you think? I agree with the judgment – who’s going to make the call about someone’s “sincerity”?

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If you ever need the stats – Internet 2009 by the numbers. Useful data for presentations.

JUST FOR FUN

Steve Jobs abandons the idea of tablet, instead to announce new iPants product (spoof)

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TODAY’S NEWS

Big change – Dan Vasella to step aside as Novartis CEO. This article also details the other internal leadership changes – very interesting.

Novo Nordisk gets approval for new diabetes drug Victoza – Federal health officials on Monday approved Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk’s once-daily injection for treating type 2 diabetes but said more safety studies are needed before it can be cleared as a first-line treatment for the disease. The Food and Drug Administration said it approved the drug, Victoza, to help lower blood sugar levels when coupled with diet, exercise and other diabetes medicines. It was not recommended as an initial therapy for patients who have not been able to control their diabetes with diet and exercise alonemore Meanwhile, Amylin waiting for once-weekly treatment to be approved.

Will 2010 be a big year for big pharma?

No matter what, I’ll still enjoy red wine – GlaxoSmithKline shocked the pharmaceutical industry in 2008 when it dropped $720 million to buy Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company working on drugs based on resveratrol, a chemical in red wine thought to combat the effects of aging. But now researchers at rival companies are openly questioning whether the compounds will work. They say they are unable to replicate key laboratory experiments backing the drugs’ promisemore

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The post I keep wanting to write…but haven’t yet. Well, I finally partially wrote it….

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Dilbert on Doing What Matters. :>}

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TODAY’S NEWS

Pfizer‘s oncology drug Sutent slows down pancreatic cancer spread – Pfizer Inc.  said Sutent, its drug for kidney cancer, also helps stop the progression of a kind of pancreatic cancer, according to a late-stage trial. Sutent is in several late-stage studies to investigate expanding its use beyond kidney and gastrointestinal treatment, exploring its efficacy in treating breast and lung cancer, among others. In the most recent study of patients with advanced tumors originating in the hormone-production area of the pancreas, disease progression was halted for more than twice as long with Sutent versus a placebo..more

Quintiles re-brands: Navigating the New Health.

In pharma-world, people often joke about how we should just put statins in the drinking water. Here’s some insight as to why (don’t shoot the messenger – I know there are plenty of detractors!)

Doc gives up hospital post over conflict-of-interest rules.

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Prilosec making a big venture into social media: a good move? – Procter & Gamble has launched a new online social media site for Prilosec OTC focused on winning new customers by talking up the lifestyle difficulties of heartburn sufferers. In an increasingly crowded market for over-the-counter heartburn medicines, is it worth spending millions more on an advertising campaign for a mature product with declining sales volumes?more

JUST FOR FUN

Advertising on a bus – how to be way too creepy!

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TODAY’S NEWS

Note: if you’re going to engage in questionable marketing practices, documenting it in Powerpoint is probably not a “best practice”! Just saying…

Experiment HIV drug from Merck fails in late-stage studies – Merck & Co  on Wednesday said its experimental HIV treatment vicriviroc proved ineffective in two late-stage studies involving patients who had previously been treated with other HIV medicines...more

Merck diarrhea drug does very well – Merck & Co.’s experimental drug against a germ blamed for increasing rates of deadly diarrhea in U.S. hospitals and nursing homes cut repeat infections by 72 percent, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine saidmore

Orphan drug applications are way up.

Upcoming oral MS drugs are very promising – Study results suggest they are much more effective than expensive “disease modifying” MS drugs such as beta interferon and glatiramer acetate, which have to be injected….more

Top biotech layoffs of 2009.

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E-detailing – Pfizer doubles its spending. I expect this trend to accelerate across the industry. It simply makes sense.

JUST FOR FUN

OCD Medication - instructions.

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