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Archive for the ‘Biotech’ Category

In short, The Antidote is a great read for those of us in the biopharma industry.

book The Antidote

Barry Werth wrote a previous volume, The Billion Dollar Molecule, about the early years of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. This follow-up book outlines the history, the personalities, the processes, and the high-risk-high-reward decisions that went into Vertex advancing its first drug(s) to the marketplace, and morphing itself into a commercial organization.

From the mercurial brilliance of founder Joshua Berger to all the various players who came on board to evolve the company, it’s a fascinating account of how a company struggled to shape and maintain its culture. The blow-by-blow account of deciding on drug candidates, based on the Vertex philosophy of science and medicine (and business), is eye-opening. Some of the language would be a bit technical and arcane for those not involved in the industry, but for pharmaceutical and biotech professionals, this is a great story.

The writing style flows nicely – such a book could become dry; but, in fact, I had a hard time putting this one down each night.

Highly recommended!

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Amgen finally gets approval for Prolia – After months of delay, Amgen finally won FDA approval for Prolia, an injectable treatment for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who are at high risk for fractures. The endorsement is a big boost for the biotech, which has been counting on Prolia to reverse a series of setbacks over the past few years, notably a decline in sales of some of its largest-selling products, Aranesp and Enbrelmore

Encouraging early-early-early result? Sure. Overly optimistic headline? Of course. New vaccine “could eliminate breast cancer.” Sally Church gives us some good cautionary words about over-hyping such results.

Biogen sues multiple rivals over MS drug – seeks royalties. I’m sure the lawyers, at least, are happy about this development.

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Sales and Account Manager, Training Agency serving Life Sciences (Massachusetts), experience required. From the Impactiviti Job Board.

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Looking Forward to the SPBT Conference – here’s what I’ll be doing, and the workshops that look appealing. Will I see you there? Download my digital business card (see linked post) and let’s get together in Orlando! (SPBT = Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers)

JUST FOR FUN

16 Thin Buildings. Actually, I’d prefer to see one thinner consultant, in the mirror. Sigh.

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Note: there will be no Impactiviti Daily for the remainder of this week, as I’ll be away at a conference…

TODAY’S NEWS

Biotech: finally profitable – The biotechnology industry is finally profitable, according to a new report out today from Ernst & Young. The report states that biotech companies in the world’s largest hubs — the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia — achieved collective profitability in 2009, marking the first year the industry has ever crossed into the black. The companies in those regions posted an aggregate net profit of $3.7 billion in 2009, compared to a net loss of $1.8 billion in 2008…more

Making quite a living as a pharma whistleblower – drug rep hits the legal lottery twice.

Merck to close three NJ facilities – not a big surprise, post-merger with Schering.

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What are we Doing….Really?

JUST FOR FUN

You really can’t make stuff like this up: Handyman injured after chopping down branch he leaned ladder against.

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TODAY’S NEWS

What about those bone fracture risks with biophosphonate drugs? The jury is still out – A new study gives reassuring news about the safety of Fosamax and Reclast, bone-building drugs taken by millions of American women. It found that long-term use does not significantly raise the risk of a rare type of fracture near the hipmore

Monthly hepatitis C treatment looking promising – Human Genome Sciences Inc. said Wednesday a midstage study of the potential hepatitis C treatment Zalbin showed a monthly dose of the drug candidate could be as effective as a weekly dose of the standard treatment. The Rockville, Md., company said interim results from the study support evaluation of the monthly dose in a bigger, late-stage trial. The midstage study was conducted by Novartis, which is developing the drug with Human Genome Sciences. It combined the drug with ribavirin in 391 patients with forms of chronic hepatitis Cmore

Massive Multaq Mess Might Mean Major Meltdown – The scale of Sanofi-Aventis (SNY)’s Multaq mess is starting to become apparent: The heart drug, hailed by the company as a €1 billion-plus blockbuster prior to its launch, may miss Wall Street sales estimates by as much as €1.3 billion, according to analysts at Jefferies International. When investors wake up and downgrade their expectations for the atrial fibrillation drug, Sanofi’s stock may suffer, they say…more

Genzyme - feeling fines.

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Another reason to like Gilead Sciences (besides the fact that they have the best logo in the industry) – they actually have a rational pay plan for their top executive. What would it look like if pharma upper executive pay were based on annual performance for these measures: Profitability ratio (earnings vs. # of employees – something Gilead excels at, by the way); company share increase over a 3-year running average; and regulatory compliance? We might then see real pay-for-performance!

JUST FOR FUN

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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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This will be the final Impactiviti Daily for 2009. We’ll pick up again in the new year. Have a delightful holiday season!

TODAY’S NEWS

Deals – J&J and Merck get hits, Biogen strikes out.

From PharmaExec – a new commercialization model needed for pharma? – The days when biopharmaceutical companies could rely upon a steady stream of blockbuster products to fuel sales and support large, fixed-cost infrastructures appear to be over. It is clear that with the issues facing the pharmaceutical industry — coupled with a changing future environment — the current commercial model is too cumbersome to deal with hard economic conditions or to react to new stakeholder environmentsmore

Pfizer and BI get expanded label for Spiriva for COPD – Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Pfizer Inc. announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved SPIRIVA® HandiHaler® (tiotropium bromide inhalation powder) for the reduction of exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). SPIRIVA HandiHaler is already FDA-approved as a once-daily maintenance treatment for breathing problems associated with COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or bothmore

Cancer genomes revealed – this is pretty cool, actually. A big step toward personalized medicine.

Medical Rep certification – coming soon!

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JUST FOR FUN

Business Week gives their visual and descriptive accounting of the 50 ugliest cars of the last 50 years. There are some…umm…beauties in there.

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Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog via e-mail (which will bring you Impactiviti Daily – a brief of the day’s top pharma news)

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection twice-monthly e-newsletter (see sample)

Connect with Steve Woodruff

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TODAY’S NEWS

Celgene to buy Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, another company with a focus on developing drugs for blood cancer. I really like Celgene’s laser-like focus in its product portfolio – very smart.

Keep those new blood thinners coming.

AstraZeneca‘s Seroquel gets an expanded label for Major Depressive Disorder (add-on treatment).

Folotyn: 30K/month cancer treatment?? Wow (from NY Times).

The race for the new oral MS drug approval – did Novartis just take the lead?

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Pharma: Socializing in a Straitjacket? A somewhat shallow brushstroke in AdWeek about pharma and social media. AND – only TWO FDA inspectors in all of China (where much drug manufacturing is moving)? I bet that gets changed fast!

JUST FOR FUN

Will a young dog remember a family member who has been gone for 3 months? Watch and see!

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Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog via e-mail (which will bring you Impactiviti Daily – a brief of the day’s top pharma news)

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection twice-monthly e-newsletter (see sample)

Connect with Steve Woodruff

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