Posts Tagged ‘sanofi’


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??


Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals

Get the Impactiviti overview

Read Full Post »



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.


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


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


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


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

Visit the Impactiviti Job Board

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


Read Full Post »


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.


Management Training. The Impactiviti network can help you with all your needs for training managers, finding the optimal suppliers for you. Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.


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.


Sunsets. Nice.


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

Visit the Impactiviti Job Board

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


Read Full Post »



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.


Negotiations Training – Impactiviti’s vendor/partners have just what you need to help your account managers (and others) become more skilled negotiators.  Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.

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


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


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


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

Visit the Impactiviti Job Board

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


Read Full Post »

Fresh news from the ADA (American Diabetes Association):

Takeda’s alogliptin shows impressive results – Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd’s  experimental diabetes drug alogliptin significantly lowers blood sugar alone and in combination with other common therapies, according to research presented on Saturday…more More detailed data here.

Sanofi’s experimental injectable diabetes drug shows promise – An experimental injectable type 2 diabetes drug being developed by Sanofi-Aventis SA was well tolerated and significantly improved blood sugar control compared with a placebo, according to data presented on Saturday…more

Head-to-head study of Byetta with an experimental Novo drug…very interesting – Novo Nordisk’s experimental type 2 diabetes drug, liraglutide, was superior in controlling blood sugar in a clinical trial to Eli Lilly and Co and Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Byetta, the Danish company said on Friday…more

Forbes.com has a bunch of follow-up articles growing out of the recent ASCO meeting:

:: Cancer Revolution, or Me-too Mess? Over the next decade, drug companies could either start selling more cancer drugs than at any time in history or face the biggest string of clinical failures ever…more

:: Cancer Drug Winners and LosersThe data presented at ASCO can have a huge impact both on the share prices of drug firms and on the long-term sales of their medicines. Here’s a roundup of the most important drug studies from the meeting and a look at how they will affect the companies involved…more

:: Novartis Steals the ShowNovartis is emerging as the surprise winner at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the year’s biggest cancer conference…more

:: Can Cancer Cure Pfizer?The recovery of Pfizer, the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company, rests largely on how well Nicholson, 53, can get cancer-fighting drugs out of its research labs and into doctors’ offices…more

:: And, if you want the real short-form bullet-point summary, here’s the high-level ASCO overview from Pharma Exec.

In other news….

Crestor Gaining Market Share – AstraZeneca Plc’s cholesterol drug Crestor is gaining market share in the highly competitive U.S. market, following recent encouraging data and problems faced by rival medicine Vytorin…more

Arthritis Drugs Cause Concern – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned American consumers on Wednesday that it is looking into side effects of a class of arthritis drugs that could cause cancer in children…more

Novartis Buying into Antibiotics – Novartis said it’s going to pay $100 million up front, plus as much as $300 million more, for Protez Pharmaceuticals. Protez makes PZ-601, an antibiotic in Phase II development against potentially fatal drug-resistant infections, including the MRSA and ESBL strains…more

Actelion: Who’s circling? -Big drugmakers want to do a deal with Switzerland’s Actelion Ltd — the question is will it be a $1 billion-plus drug marketing alliance or a $7 billion-plus takeover?…more (hat tip: Pharmagossip)

Sexual Harassment and Drug Reps: Watch your Steps, Folks: (from PharmaGossip) Workers at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly may want to lay off the Cialis – a longtime saleswoman says she was canned after complaining about her boss’ sexist rants and the come-ons of her sales partner…more

Velcade: a cancer treatment with some potential for lupus? – Velcade, a drug used to treat cancer, might also work against the chronic autoimmune disease lupus, German researchers said on Sunday…more

And…here’s the weekly blog/news summary from Chris Truelove at PharmaLive.

Zemanta Pixie

Read Full Post »

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:






Read Full Post »

From Forbes magazine, an article on the encouraging progress being made by pharma companies on the vaccine front:

A new golden age of vaccines is at hand, promising inoculations against malaria, meningitis and much more.

Vaccine researcher Ripley Ballou was an eager human guinea pig. As part of a six-man experiment at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in 1987, he had himself injected four times with a genetically engineered malaria vaccine. Then he taped to his arm a styrofoam cup. In it were five mosquitoes infected with malaria.

Ten days later Ballou got violently ill, with uncontrollable chills, profuse sweats and headaches that felt like “a 9-inch spike through my head,” he says. The experimental vaccine protected only one of the six volunteers in the trial. Even after drugs quelled the infection, Ballou felt run-down for weeks.

But that lone success provided inspiration for a far more potent malaria vaccine that 20 years later is finally set to go into giant clinical trials next year at GlaxoSmithkline, where Ballou now works. If successful, it could be the first vaccine for a scourge that has plagued mankind since ancient times. “This vaccine will have a huge impact,” predicts Jean Stephenne, chief of GlaxoSmithkline’s vaccine unit.

Glaxo’s malaria shot is at the forefront of a vaccine renaissance. The revolution in genomics and molecular biology has rescued a segment of the drug industry that for decades was viewed as a low-margin backwater beset by litigation and regulation. Drugmakers are producing vaccines that weren’t possible before–and getting a premium price for them. In diseases for which there is no private vaccine market, such as pandemic influenza, or for which cases are concentrated in poor countries, such as malaria and tuberculosis, governments and public-private partnerships have stepped in to subsidize development.

The resurgence couldn’t have come too soon. Mayo Clinic vaccine researcher Gregory Poland counts more than a dozen new diseases that have emerged in the last few decades: HIV, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, avian influenza. The vaccine boom, he says, “is shaking up the market.”

The $13 billion global vaccine business will grow 18% a year to $30 billion in 2011, predicts Lehman Brothers (nyse: LEH news people ), well above the 4.4% annual growth expected for the drug industry overall. Merck (nyse: MRK news people ) introduced three new vaccines last year, including Gardasil to ward off cervical cancer, while GlaxoSmithkline promises seven over the next five years, including a Gardasil competitor now awaiting approval from the Food & Drug Administration. AstraZeneca (nyse: AZN news people ) bought vaccinemaker MedImmune for $15.6 billion in June, while Pfizer (nyse: PFE news people ) last fall bought PowderMed, a British firm testing a needle-free inoculation. Sanofi-Aventis (nyse: SNY news people ) spent $150 million for a new plant that will double its flu shot production capacity in the United States to 100 million doses.

A new adult and adolescent vaccine market will make up a big portion of that growth. Diseases such as antibiotic-resistant hospital infections and genital herpes have become hot targets. One company, VaxInnate, is testing a universal flu vaccine that would work against all strains and wouldn’t have to be taken every year. Ultimately, researchers envision shots to stave off chronic diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. One exception to the optimism is aids; a promising Merck vaccine failed in a recent study.

Modern vaccines date back to British doctor Edward Jenner’s 1796 work immunizing children using pus from cowpox blisters. Ensuing vaccines were nothing more than a dead or weakened strain of a pathogen such as polio, mumps or measles that trains the body to generate protective antibodies. By the 1980s vaccines had wiped out so many diseases, and vaccine prices had fallen so far, some companies gave up searching for new ones. Vaccines were also dogged by safety issues, including the swine flu vaccine fiasco of 1976, and by the dubious theory of a link between autism and the mercury once used in a vaccine preservative.

But in 2000 Wyeth scored a huge hit with Prevnar, the first vaccine for infants against pneumococcal bacteria, a common cause of pneumonia and ear infections. It uses a clever linking technology to hook together a diphtheria protein to sugars from the surface of seven pneumococcal strains. The resulting compound is easily spotted by the infant’s immune system. Pneumococcal infections in young kids plunged 77% after Prevnar’s debut. Sales should hit $2.5 billion this year, thanks in part to its premium $311 price for four doses. (An influenza shot costs only $15.) Wyeth is testing a second-generation version that covers six more strains.

The subsequent mapping of the genomes of many nasty pathogens has opened up wholly new approaches to vaccine discovery. In the late 1990s Novartis (nyse: NVS news people ) researchers decoded the genome of the Neisseria meningitidis B bacterium, which is responsible for one-third of cases of meningococcal meningitis. There are vaccines for other meningococcus strains, but a vaccine for the group B strains had been eluding microbiologists because their surface sugars are identical to human ones. After Novartis sorted through 2,000 proteins in the genomic database, it found five proteins that, when injected into laboratory mice, generated antibodies against at least 66 of 85 group B strains, according to a 2006 study. The vaccine is now in midstage human trials. Wyeth and Sanofi-Aventis have competing efforts.

Austria’s Intercell has spent the last several years gathering blood samples from patients who have survived staph infections to determine which antibodies they had in common. A vaccine based on its findings is now in early human trials at Intercell’s partner Merck.

Malaria is one of the toughest foes of all. The shifty parasite morphs into four different forms once inside the body and spends most of its time hiding inside cells where the immune system can’t get to it. It took Glaxo 20 years to make significant progress with the malaria vaccine that failed to protect Ripley Ballou. First Glaxo researcher Joe D. Cohen took the malaria surface protein used in Ballou’s vaccine and fused it to a protein from the hepatitis B virus, creating a harmless particle that looked like a virus to the immune system. That helped, but not enough. So Glaxo added adjuvants, substances that bolster immune response, including a bacterial wall extract and a detergentlike substance from the soapbark tree. In 1997 it hit the jackpot with an adjuvant combo that protected six of seven volunteers.

In a 2004 trial of 2,000 children in Mozambique the Glaxo vaccine slashed severe malaria cases by about half. Last month a smaller trial in infants (who are most vulnerable to malaria) found it prevented infection in 65%. Now Glaxo is gearing up to test it on 16,000 kids in seven African countries. One huge question is how long the protection will last. Glaxo has already spent $300 million on the vaccine and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has kicked in another $108 million. Trial results could come in 2011. Glaxo is confident of success. It has revamped a giant factory in Belgium to produce tens of millions of doses.

Glaxo’s Stephenne hopes to sell huge quantities of malaria vaccine for a modest profit, while using its adjuvant components for more lucrative vaccines, such as one to prevent lung cancer recurrence. The cancer vaccine is now in final-stage trials.

Read Full Post »