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Archive for the ‘Sanofi-Aventis’ Category

First, a provocative thought, just to get you in the mood:

Right?

Anyway, last week, I attended the 6th annual Digital Pharma East conference, put on by the fine folks at ExLPharma.

I think I’ve been to all of them – maybe I missed one? – but it’s pretty interesting to reflect back on what the event looked like a few short years ago. In the earliest years, I decided to live-blog the event, which was unheard-of in the industry. Would my laptop and I get arrested for real-time pharma updates?? Now, just about everyone has a tablet or laptop, and we’re increasingly living this digitally-connected reality that once we were only talking about.

Refreshingly, we finally seem to be past yammering over our Phase 1 Problems (P1P) – whether or not we even should participate in social media; what to do about off-label discussions; can (or should) we even be on Twitter; etc. This year, discussions were more focused on practical doing, and less on regulatory hand-wringing. That’s refreshing.

The event was attended by over 600+ folks – a pretty stellar attendance number – and it ran over 4 days. The first day was pre-event workshops; the next 2 days were the main event; and Thursday was Mobile Day. Chairing the event were two pharma digital veterans, Batman and Robin Shwen Gwee and Marc Monseau (each formerly worked inside pharma companies, both now on the agency side).

I like to give high-level summaries of events like this, so here is my string of thoughts and observations:

1. Digital Pharma East was well-planned and well-run. Bryon, Jayson, Jason, Warren, and the whole team did a solid job organizing, and were constantly circulating to make sure things stayed on track. Kudos to the ExL Pharma group.

Random thought: good food really does help the mood at an event.

2. The exhibit hall was packed with some pretty interesting vendor/providers – and I’m pleased to observe that we’re finally beginning to move from first-generation iPad apps (the one-off approach) to more robust system-level platforms. I have some definite opinions about this, and for pharma/biotech/device companies who are looking to do a digital technology audit and roadmap, I can help you with recommendations (commercial plug for my client-vendor matchmaking service).

Random thought: Having the meals and social events in the exhibit hall is smart. Also, if you’re going to give out water bottles, make really cool ones, like Klick Health did! —>

3. The social media backchannel (Twitter) was quite active during the entire event, with good participation from folks who were not physically present. However, live audience participation was somewhat muted, and this is a matter of concern – part of it, I suspect, was due to the lighting (audience in darkness), but also, we’re simply not effectively incorporating audience interaction strategies. Passive listening joined to a few minutes of Q&A at the end of a talk is so 2005. We need to do better here.

Random thought: Do not put unreadable type on your slides and expect the audience to be OK with it. That transgression lights up the Twitterstream!

4. Sometimes panel discussions can be a bore, but we did have some good ones. Tuesday’s Driving Innovation panel, led by Paul Ivans joined by Peter Justason (Purdue), Joan Mikardos (Sanofi), Melissa Bojorquez (B-I), Joyce Ercolino (CSL Behring), Alison Woo (BMS), and Patricia Choumitsky (UCB) was lively and informative.

Random thought: Along with industry expertise, it’s always nice to have a sprinkling of speakers from outside the industry at any event. New perspectives are generally quite helpful!

5. For me, and I believe for many attendees, the two most striking talks were back-to-back on Wednesday – Sinan Aral took us to school on the topic of Social Networks, Viral Hype and Big Data – Distinguishing Hope from Hype with Science. This was followed by the personable and entertaining James Musick of Genentech with a session on Social Engagement & Brands, talking about a unique digital/social experiment they did exposing people to genetics. Great stuff.

Random thought: It’s always a good idea to have some presenters who know how to have a bit of fun, especially if accompanied with an accent – like John Pugh of Boehringer!

6. Mobile Day was a reinforcement of a message that still seems to be very slowly sinking in – mobile is the new normal, and we are woefully behind as an industry even in the most basic stuff like having mobile-ready public-facing websites. This is truly the low-hanging fruit for digital development in pharma. We had sessions underscoring the tensions between centralized site development (to deal with multiple mobile platforms) vs. platform-specific creativity, and the main message here is that all of these details are still quite in flux. But mobile/smartphones/tablets are going to predominate, and it was refreshing to hear at least one speaker advocate for the approach of developing for mobile FIRST, then worrying about a “desktop” version. In my opinion, that’s the only approach that makes any sense if we understand current trends correctly.

Random thought: Presenting to doctors via iPad is not necessarily intuitive – training is necessary (this is also true of facilitating virtual classrooms, etc. – don’t assume that the same skills carry over!)

7. I did lead one magical session/discussion on The Future of Digital/Social/Pharma/Life, encouraging people to skate to where the puck is going when it comes to our new world of People (24/7 human connectivity), Pockets (mobile), and Pipes (data streams from devices and information stores). I think that many are still not aware that networks of things, information, and people are rapidly converging; and that forces of disintermediation/new-intermediation are changing our culture wholesale in ways that will totally re-shape business.

Random thought: Photoshop can make any presenter into a plasma-tossing superhero!

Reconnecting with old long-standing friends (like Wendy Blackburn, Kerri Sparling, John Mack (OK, he’s old), Chris Truelove, Zoe Dunn, Carly Kuper, and Jay Bryant is always a highlight of this conference; as is the opportunity to make new connections. I always look forward to this event and may even venture out to the West Coast next year for Digital Pharma West. Philadelphia is OK and all, but San Francisco + Digital stuff? C’mon…

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Pay-for-Fail

Finally, after a long (and at times contentious) set of turns around the dance floor, Sanofi and Genzyme have agreed to merge.

The big winner? Henri Termeer, who presided over the decline and now sale of Genzyme. A nice $160 million reward for…..what? Certainly not success.

I’m an unabashed capitalist. But this is yet another in a long string of Board-of-Director-abdications-of-responsibility that give pharmaceutical companies (and plenty of companies in other industries) a bad name.

Nobody should get a package anything like this. And, if a top leader does earn (note the word: EARN) a rich payout at the end of his/her tenure, it should be tied to metrics of growth that have clearly rewarded the shareholders, employees, and patients first. If you run a company into the ground, you should be run out on a rail, not driven out in a stretch limo with a bursting bank account.

It’s enough to make you need an anti-emetic.

Yes, the pharmaceutical industry has a P.R. problem. But this type of fiscal irresponsibility is a self-inflicted wound. I can hardly blame a CEO for taking the money and running. But shareholders need to revolt against directors who approve packages like this, and put them out to pasture ASAP. It’s an embarrassment and a travesty.

Pay-for-Performance – let’s start right at the top and then work our way down, shall we??

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Prostate cancer drug treatment (Sanofi) approved on the fast track. But – a warning flag for S-A about possible Lantus/cancer link.

Bayer and OncoMed to co-develop oncology drugs in new agreement.

Novartis‘ blood cancer drug Tasigna gets approval for earlier use with CML.

RECOMMENDED

SocialRx – pharma social media resources. A page full of goodies, newly updated from us here at Impactiviti. Enjoy!

PLUS

Sex pills for women. Count me among the skeptics. And, medical flops of the decade (from Forbes).

JUST FOR FUN

Just where in the world is that South Africa place??

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Boehringer‘s female sex pill: maybe not. The drug “failed to demonstrate a statistically significant improvement” in sexual desire, Food and Drug Administration staff said in a review released today. It was also linked to appendicitis, depression and loss of consciousness. Side effects led about 15 percent of women to stop treatment with the drug, the review saidmore

What is Eli Lilly paying laid-off workers? This (interesting chart).

Pharma mergers – do they really deliver on efficiencies? Interesting summary.

Sanofi-Aventismore cuts, but future expansion. I’ll leave the math to you!

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Any kind of pharma training. Our business at Impactiviti is partnering with the best vendors for all aspects of training, and then helping you identify the best one(s) for your needs.  Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) to discuss your needs, and we’ll make recommendations (yes, the service is free!)

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Marketers must embrace the connected patient. Amen.

JUST FOR FUN

Starbucks to begin sinister Phase Two of operations. Funny goodness from The Onion, America’s Finest News Source. :>}

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Had a great time last week at the SPBT conference. Planning to get out a summary post later this week…

TODAY’S NEWS:

Big news for Novartis: FDA panel unanimously recommends approval for oral MS drug – A Food and Drug Administration panel has unanimously backed the safety and effectiveness of Novartis’  multiple sclerosis treatment fingolimod. The panel voted 25-0 in support of fingolimod’s “substantial evidence of effectiveness” in treating patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. That makes it likely the drug will be the first oral MS treatment to gain FDA approval, beating Merck, Sanofi  and Teva – all of which are developing their own oral MS drugs – to the punchmore

Glaxo cuts 700 more sales/marketing positions – A Glaxo spokeswoman said 700 sales and marketing staffers (and related support staff) have taken buyout offers in recent months, while others’ jobs are being cut. She declined to give a total figure, but said the cuts are affecting “a variety of different positions in the U.S. pharma commercial staff.”more

Uncomfortable links being investigated – ARB high blood pressure drugs/cancer; Daiichi‘s Benicar and heart disease; troubling new data on GSK‘s Avandia and heart disease.

A “pill mill” in Kansas and multiple fatalities from the “lollipop of death.”

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PLUS

Fresh from the tube this weekend: the first ever DTC commercial for medical devices?

JUST FOR FUN

This may just be the most hideous website “designed” by man. Do not click with any consumables in your mouth…

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Impactiviti has launched a new venture, and we’d like to ask for your help to make it a success! Introducing the Impactiviti Talent Network – on-line job search joined to social networking. This can help you as a job seeker, AND as a company posting openings!

TODAY’S NEWS:

Head of Pfizer R&D pulls up stakes, goes to AstraZeneca.

Pfizer‘s Inspra meets primary study goals early – Pfizer reported Thursday that it plans to stop enrolling patients ahead of schedule in a late-stage trial of Inspra (eplerenone) after those taking the drug experienced a significant reduction in risk of cardiovascular death or heart failure hospitalisation compared with those receiving placebo...more

Sanofi‘s prostate cancer drug: 28% survival improvement in study – Sanofi-Aventis’ cabazitaxel candidate prostate cancer drug combined with prednisone reduced the risk of death by 28 percent compared with another treatment, the outcome of a final-stage trial showed. The French drugmaker said on Thursday that the combination of the treatments led to an improved median overall survival of 15.1 months against 12.7 months in patients who took a chemotherapy of mitoxantrone with prednisone/prednisolonemore

Intermune to lay off 40% of workforce – InterMune Inc. said it will fire about 60 employees, or 40 percent of its workforce, to reduce costs after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the company’s lung drug earlier this month...more

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I don’t usually wander into political waters on this blog. But I found this article to be so compelling and cogent, I had to share. America’s New Culture War: Free Enterprise vs. Government Control. Worth the read!

JUST FOR FUN

Splash of yellow. From my backyard. And, daisies in the evening.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Sanofi taking a heavy dice-roll on Multaq: 11,000-patient trial on expanded use.

A glimpse into Merck‘s late-stage pipeline. Very diverse group of molecules and conditions. Here’s an interesting little extra on the cholesterol drug.

FDA launches 1-800-TATTLE: The FDA is asking healthcare professionals to keep an eye out for violative promotion and to call 1-877-RX-DDMAC or emailing badad@fda.com when they see itmore

Pfizer: NYC layoffs and relos, plus selling a midtown building. And, late-breaking, Takeda also embarking on major cuts.

The VA about to tighten the rules on drug sales rep interactions. Part of a nationwide trend.

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So…who’s been doing the best Social Media in Pharma? The new Dosie Award winners were announced live at the BDI Social Communications in Healthcare event yesterday.

JUST FOR FUN

Sunsets. Nice.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Great news for hepatitis C treatment (and Vertex) – Adding the investigational drug telaprevir to standard treatment for hepatitis C infection cures about half the patients willing to give therapy a second try. That compares to a cure rate of just 14 percent among those who were retreated with the standard regimen, according to researchers at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI)more

Teva gets approval to market generic versions of two key Merck cardio drugs (Cozaar and Hyzaar).

Sanofi makes a long-term investment into a cool-sounding diabetes treatment (pre-Phase 1).

Is Nuvaring a pinata for plaintiff’s attorneys? – Merck’s Nuvaring contraceptive appears to be headed for the same fate as Bayer’s Yaz pill and Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Evra contraceptive patch: It’s becoming a pinata for plaintiffs’ lawyers who allege the device is more dangerous than older, equally effective products on the marketmore

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Social Media – Nine things Pharma should learn about Social Media from Dennis Urbaniak (of Sanofi-Aventis US). And, the finalists for the first Dosie Awards are announced.

JUST FOR FUN

Did you know that Niagara Falls once ran dry? True!

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TODAY’S NEWS

Antisoma/Novartis experimental drug hits the proverbial wall on Phase III lung cancer trial. Study halted.

New test may predict which MS patients will most benefit from beta interferons. This is actually a big deal – Researchers at Stanford University analyzed mice with an induced disorder similar to MS and blood samples saved from humans with the disease. They found two different subtypes of disease, each driven by excess activity of a different set of infection-fighting immune cells. Only the patients with one sub- type responded to the MS drugs known as beta interferonsmore

Credibility, disclosure, Sanofi, Multaq, paid consultants. At the very least, not a real good “sniff test” here.

Speaking of disclosure, let me mention how we handle reporting pharma news, and making commentary at Impactiviti. Essentially, I call it like I see it – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many of the companies mentioned in this blog are clients of Impactiviti. I am quick to highlight what is praiseworthy, and I don’t hesitate to call out deficiencies – whether a company happens to be a client or not. It is my hope to live, consult, and report with integrity, and my clients know to expect impartial writing and commentary here.

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The latest Impactiviti Connection e-newsletter is up! You can subscribe here.

PLUS

Do pictures of insects covered with dew sound a bit gross. Trust me – these stunning photos are anything but!

JUST FOR FUN

Worth a visit if you’re ever in Eastern Connecticut – the Jonathan Edwards Winery. Especially be sure to try the local Cabernet Franc…

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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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