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Archive for June, 2010

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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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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Impactiviti Daily will not be published next week, as I will be attending the annual Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers conference (SPBT) in Orlando.

TODAY’S NEWS:

As the pre-ASCO news heats up, the big headline will be leukemia treatments – specifically, BMS‘ Sprycel and Novartis‘ Gleevec and Tasigna (just inTasigna shown superior to Gleevec in slowing CML: 18-month results). Treatments in this class, by the way, are something near miracle drugs. They’ve totally revolutionized blood cancer treatments. In related news, Novartis’ Afinitor (approved for kidney cancer) meets goals in a trial for pancreatic cancer.

Why should you be interested in a “nanosponge”? Well, there’s this – Scientists have found that a delivery system based on a technique called nanosponge is three to five times more effective at reducing tumor growth than direct injectionmore

Will Amgen‘s new osteoporosis drug Prolia find its true home in oncology treatment? – The company has also applied for FDA approval to market the drug to breast cancer and prostate cancer patients who are undergoing a hormone treatment that weakens their bones. What’s more, the company is conducting tests designed to show that Prolia prevents cancer from spreading to the bones — an indication that could push sales of the drug to as much as $6 billion annually, some analysts predictmore Also – huge sales force push for Prolia.

20% of high school students abuse prescription drugs. Wow – sobering.

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Simulations/Gaming. Live training simulations, digital sims (eLearning) and on-line games – our partner network has the expertise you need.  Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.

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How to reduce e-mail ping-pong. You know all that back-and-forth? Here’s a way to undercut it at the start!

JUST FOR FUN

See-through animals. Ten of them. Amazing.

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Could low-dose Avandia be useful in preventing diabetes onset? This would be good news for GSK GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Avandia helped prevent the onset of diabetes when taken at a low dose with another drug, according to a company-sponsored study that suggests the regimen may help patients without raising heart attack risk. Half doses of Avandia and the therapy metformin, when combined, cut the risk of developing diabetes by two-thirds compared with placebo, Canadian researchers said..more

We’re in the gusher phase of the pre-ASCO press release flood. This sneak peek on BMS products is intriguing. More here – Four Scenarios for BMS.

Lying about data – people just don’t seem to learn. Sigh. And that goes for financial folks, politicians, climate scientists – it ain’t just pharma, folks!

Cephalon, Provigil and Nuvigil.

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Leadership Training. We’ve got the vendor/partners you need for this – field leaders or executive leadership level. Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.

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New iPhone app released by Novartis subsidiary CibaVision. My “live” review while playing with it – mixed feelings. And, while we’re doing reviews – a north Jersey restaurant (Tabor Road Tavern) that blew me away.

JUST FOR FUN

Who needs PSA tests for prostate cancer when you have Fido? What’s interesting is that this is – amusingly – serious!

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Novartis’ CibaVision subsidiary has released a new iPhone app, called the Academy for Eyecare Excellence. I have downloaded it and am going to write this review “live” – that is, give my impressions as I walk through it. I believe that intuitive user interface is the key to good software design, so let’s see how this app strikes a newbie from a user experience point of view.

First up is a required registration page, asking for first name, last name, email, zip code, country, and profession. Below that there are a couple of notification options (for updates), and a link to the Privacy Policy.

Right off, I’d prefer to have a brief explanation why this amount of info is being requested. It’s intrusive compared to most iPhone apps, and may be a barrier to entry. Now, there may very well be excellent reasons to ask for it – but if so, please share them up front in capsule form (you do get a better idea by reading the detailed Privacy Policy).

When I first use any app, I want to feel a sense of intuitive ease with the interface, AND I’d like a little “Wow” factor. The home page interface is a bit busy, but the Intro video of two guys talking about what the app can do for you is very impressive – smooth, hi-res, and motivating. Thumbs up on that idea!

From the initial screen, the user can jump to Courses, Video, and Articles. Let’s try Courses…OK, two courses present (on contact lenses, of course), several future courses listed. The course is structured in topical nuggets, each of which is a tasty combination of video and animation with nice, clear narration. I cannot comment on how helpful these little courses will be for eyecare professionals, but I can say, as someone with a lot of background in eLearning design, that this is pretty good stuff from a production standpoint. Thumbs up here.

The Video section is just promo videos for the digital Ciba educational properties, including this app. This could eventually be a potential repository for helpful little practical hints, or clinical updates, if Ciba heads in that direction – right now, it seems like a placeholder. Thumb at rest in horizontal position.

Articles doesn’t go anywhere. I assume there will be resources populating this at some point. Thumb hiding.

On the bottom navigation bar is a button for Academy, which opens up (essentially) a miniaturized website explaining CibaVision’s educational approach and offerings. The iPhone form factor is not ideal for information structured this way – small type and standard web navigation design. Thumbs down – not on the idea of explaining more about the offerings, but on the information design. There is also a button fro Prof. Affairs which currently goes nowhere.

-> It occurs to me that perhaps the two non-functional buttons are because I registered as an “Other”, not as one of the designated titles for an eyecare professional. So, I just left the app and registered under a different name, as an Opthamologist. And, sure enough, now those nav buttons are occupied! The Prof. Affairs is just a repeat of the intro video – a placeholder, nothing to see here – but the Articles now show a couple of article summaries with a link to the .pdf. Sparse here at launch, but the potential is there. Plus, you are invited to pop open (to full screen) an ad for one of the CibaVision contact lens products.

There is also a Back and a More button on the bottom – Back does what you’d expect, and More gives links to CibaVision site; Acknowledgements; a Contact link (which opens up your e-mail); and Tell a Friend (also e-mail driven). Nothing special.

OK, let’s sum up:

Putting on my branding hat: The visual design, naming, and branding are mediocre. The graphical elements used, and page layouts, are only so-so.

Putting on my application user experience hat: It has potential. Right now, I question the value, especially for the amount of personal information I’ve “given up” at registration. And the experience is “choppy” and stitched together – cool video here, clunky web interface there, etc. The app doesn’t feel smooth and well-integrated (yet).

Putting on my eLearning/professional education hat: Very nice. With lots of potential to evolve.

It is a one-way application – nothing truly interactive or social about it. I think a lot of first-gen pharma apps will fall into that camp. I’d have to say that this one is not particularly compelling, unless an eyecare professional really needs those courses in the palm of their hands. Then, there’s clear value.

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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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JOB OPENINGS

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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The annual Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers conference is next week in Kissimmee (code word for “Orlando”) Florida! Looking forward to seeing many friends there – on both the client and vendor side – and meeting lots of new folks as well.

If growing your professional network is on your mind, I’ll be leading a session on Wednesday morning at 11 am called Five Ways Social Media will Shape your Future in Pharma, plus hosting a breakfast roundtable Wednesday morning on Social Media and Learning: Would eHarmony Match Them Up?

I’ll also be part of group-led discussion on Vendor Selection (Strategic Sourcing: Meeting Training Stakeholder Needs with Best-in-Class Solution Providers) Wednesday afternoon at 4 o’clock.

So, what other sessions to attend? Well, looking over the program of workshops, here are some of the sessions that look appealing to me:

Period 1: I like the looks of the session Incorporating Managed Care Training in a Specialty Curriculum (Ed McCarthy/Lynn DiBonaventura), as I get many vendor recommendation requests for both areas. Also tempting is The Younger Generation of Doctors: Understanding and Meeting their Needs (Peter Shaw et. al.), because that one may focus on some of the progressive social media/learning themes that are near to my heart.

Period 2: This time slot is so loaded with good stuff that I may need a bunch of clones! I may well attend the Curriculum Analysis: Why and How session (Bob Holliday/Brenda Goolsby), but frankly, every single session in this period appeals to me – which is very rare. If you need a dose of serious motivation and fun, hang out in Jim Smith’s “Hot Seat” session. There’s some good technology stuff during this period too, with web 2.0 and tablet computing themes. A bunch of my clients and partners are presenting during this time. I don’t think attendees can possibly lose with any of these workshops.

Period 3: This time slot is very heavy on vendor-led sessions – however, a lot of the topics focus on forward-looking themes and boutique areas of interest, which is good. I’m leaning a bit toward Designing and Implementing a Corporate Medicare Communications Platform (Thomas Hromin/Dennis Falci/Steven Shuck), but am also intrigued by the Expanding Coaching workshop.

swpresent1Period 4: I don’t have much choice here – I’ll be leading a session on Five Ways Social Media will Shape your Future in Pharma. You will walk out with your mind buzzing! If I could skip my own workshop and go incognito into someone else’s, however, I’d probably grab a seat at Developing Business Acumen Training (Garry O’Grady) – definitely a hot topic these days.

Period 5: This is another packed time slot. I don’t know how I’m going to choose between Learning Transfer and Retention (Chris Ayers/Seana Ziliak), Utilizing 3-D Virtual Worlds (Ron Burns/Cindy Skirvin), Key Account Management (John Miller), The Sherpa Project (Bill McDunphy/Dan O’Connor), and Using Competency Models (Diana Kramer/John Sjovall). And some of the other sessions are equally compelling. Wow.

Period 6: Again, my selection is pre-made here, as I’ll be co-leading a panel discussion on Vendor Selection/Strategic Sourcing with Gary Marinko of Proficient Learning. This will be a very lively and interactive session. But maybe I can prop up a cardboard cut-out of myself half-way through and sneak over to the Sales Training for Medical Devices workshop (Philip McCrea/Tom Egan/Darleen Weghorst).

Period 7: I’ve had a long-standing interest in this topic, so I’m likely to be at Bridging the Gap between Training and Marketing Brand Teams (Howard Hessel/Cindy Monastersky) – but otherwise I’d be seriously torn between Training Directors’ Playbook (George Schmidt/Sue Iannone) and Science-Driven Sales (Mark Vince).

These are just my probable choices based on areas of interest for me this year – obviously, you have specific needs and interests that will dictate what you choose. There are some really great presenters/trainers in sessions I haven’t even mentioned.

There are many familiar names in the exhibit hall, but also a good bunch of newer companies. It’ll be enjoyable getting to know new friends and renewing ties with long-standing colleagues.

I am available throughout the entire conference if you wish to network, catch up, or get vendor recommendations from me. In fact, you can download a digital business card with all contact info (including cell): text swoodruff to 50500. I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

[This blog post from 2 years ago, with a brief video about maximizing your SPBT time and a downloadable form, is still a good resource, esp. for those attending for the first time.]

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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. Check it out!

TODAY’S NEWS:

So Novo Nordisk decides to pull certain drugs from the market in Greece because the bankrupt and irresponsible government there decrees price cuts that would force Novo to lose money. And Novo is the bad guy in this?? Not on your life! I’m glad the company had the courage to take the PR hit and act like a business.

Glaxo settles more Avandia lawsuits – A company spokeswoman said on Tuesday that consolidated cases which had been due to come to court in Philadelphia this month had been settled. She declined to give further details and said the terms remained confidential. Analysts estimate Glaxo had faced a total of 13,000 claims for damages involving Avandia, of which around 5,000 were consolidated in Philadelphia, and there had been fears it could face damages of up to $6 billionmore

From Forbes: The death of the blockbuster drug.

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Negotiation Training. We’ve got the vendor/partners you need for this – as well as Speaker/Presentation training, and Coaching.  Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.

JOB OPENINGS

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

PLUS

The 10 Weirdest Drug Stories of the Month (May). From BNet.

JUST FOR FUN

From the Onion, of course. Adderall receives honorary degree from Harvard. Pretty funny! And – I’m not going to THIS Sunday roast (at least, not with the family!)

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