Archive for December, 2007

Merry Christmas

It’s time to wrap up my final consulting tasks, gather my little ones (and not-so-little-ones!) around the fire, break out the cookies and the presents, and enjoy the holiday.

Thanks to all my clients, partners, friends, readers and others who have made 2007 such an enjoyable and productive year.

Have a wonderful Christmas season!


(Image credit)

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A high-end narrated 3-D animation of the “inner life of a cell.” Very cool.

Where can you find some good (low-cost or no-cost) images? Here’s a helpful list.

If you use Facebook at all, you’ll get a kick out of this spoof glimpse into Facebook 30 years in the future.

And finally, an inspirational year-end treat. Patrick Hughes – born without eyes, crippled from birth, gifted musician – and a member of the University of Louisville marching band. Amazing.

(And, here’s another wonderful story featured on the Impactiviti blog last December)



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Some interesting oncology results:

Millennium‘s Velcade used in combo therapy for multiple myeloma shows impressive results.

Cephalon‘s Treanda shows impressive remission numbers for CLL, and effectiveness in non-Hodgins lymphoma (NHL).

Celgene‘s Revlimid continues to produce good results at a low-dose regimen.

Novartis‘ Gleevec: effective at halting leukemia progression up to 6 years.

Eisai decides to grab MGI Pharma, and its stable of oncology drugs.

Biogen-Idec‘s Zevalin, a radioimmunotherapy agent, halted NHL progression in 76% of patients (single treatment!).

AZ’s Arimidex shown superior to tamoxifen for breast cancer, even 4 years after treatment.

GSK‘s Tykerb helps fight brain tumors in combo with Xeloda.

And, on the bleeding edge:

Prasugrel (new blood thinning treatment from Daiichi-Sankyo and Lilly) continues to show promise – and some mixed results in certain populations.

Glaxo‘s experimental platelet booster shows efficacy in long-term treatment (Glaxo also announced new deals with 2 biotechs). However, GSK is now hit with a delay on its Cervarix vaccine.

Bayer and J&J’s experimental blood thinner takes on market-leader Lovenox in blood clot prevention study.

WSJ has summary article on the blood thinner race to market.

And, in other news:

Novartis the latest to announce major job cuts.

Merck still developing obesity and cholesterol drugs.

FDA approves new blood pressure drug from Mylan/Forest.

Lilly CEO to retire.

Changing endpoints…a clinical study no-no. WSJ has the story, on a long-delayed Vytorin study.

Is Alzheimer’s a form of diabetes? Very intriguing line of research…

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In Washington, D.C. there is a movement to do just that.

What’s disturbing is the broad-brush, assumption of guilt revealed in words like these:

The District could become the first jurisdiction in the country to license pharmaceutical sales representatives, a move a council member says would help protect doctors and patients from disreputable agents who help drive up the costs of prescription drugs…Because the agents’ salaries are dependent on sales, they sometimes give the wrong impressions about drugs and present themselves as medical professionals, Catania said….Catania and advocates of the bill say patients’ health can be threatened by salespeople who provide false information about prescription drugs.

I think perhaps, with this logic, we should license politicians. And journalists.

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After Hours 12_7

It’s official – Style has now replaced Substance (30 second audio).

Would you pay $120.00 for a beer?

Something as simple as a water droplet can make a great photo. Examples here and here.

Do you have teenagers (I have 3…so far). Then this will make sense to you! It is now posted in our kitchen…

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The connection between high cholesterol and risk of stroke is questioned.

Is Avandia contributing to bone breakage? And more bad news for the GSK diabetes treatment…two healthcare providers drop the medication from their formularies. For switcheroos, it appears that most doctors are leaning toward Januvia or Byetta.

Long-ish article from Business Week on Genentech‘s current and future status. And, here is one doctor’s summary about why he voted “nay” on the FDA panel considering Avastin for breast cancer.

Novartis has plans for 4 more cancer drugs.

Certain lymphoma drugs may be derailed based on this Medicare decision.

Teva‘s Copaxone may actually cut the risk of developing MS.

An interesting perspective from Derek Lowe on why it’s not all bad that companies developing competing drugs in the same class.

An update on the status of eDetailing.

Here’s a fascinating finding – does body temperature (specifically, a fever) unlock the effects of autism??

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This is the sixth in an occasionaly series on home page design for pharma companies. Today, we take a look at Sanofi-Aventis. On my marketing blog, I have previously remarked on S-A’s logo/tagline (“Because Health Matters”) – now for the implementation of their web presence.

In a word…blecchh.


Everything is whacked out, proportionally speaking, on this home page. There is a vast sea of unproductive, and – this is the first time I’ve ever said this – almost repulsive white space along the top. That amount of blankness simply does not belong. There is a menu bar which only extends halfway across the page, which is hard on the eyes, because everything is 2-color. Then, on the right side, there is a sub-menu bar in smaller type – the entire menu system is simply non-intuitive.

Once you get past the overly expansive header with its sea of white space, there is barely room for any content below the menu bar. But what content there is, is highly corporate. Nothing to draw in the user, nothing of immediate interest – just corporate press releases, links to financial statements, Sustainable Development links, and…well, not much else.

This site does not tell a story. It is visually unappealing. It doesn’t even let me know, at a glance, what Sanofi-Aventis is or does.

And someone should tell these folks not to refer to themselves as “The Group.” Sounds like a cult, or the French mafia, or something…

Going in to the menus, I was hoping that maybe there would be some good and interesting content beyond the home page. Nope. Just lists of brief statements and links. It almost seems like whoever designed this site was specifically charged not to make it engaging. This is one of the Top 5 pharma companies in the world – I expect, if not to be dazzled, at least to be interested!

To cap it all off, you click on the Careers menu item and you get this user-friendly screen:


Leaving the “institutional” site, and entering one of the “Group” sites…was this text all written by lawyers?

All in all, not a pleasant on-line experience. I see nothing in the information or interface design that can be salvaged. This one needs to re-built from scratch. Because a good website matters.

Prior website reviews:






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