Wyeth Says Yes to Pfizer Takeover

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorTo no one’s surprise, Wyeth shareholders approved yesterday the $68-billion merger agreement with Pfizer. The vote was overwhelming: 98% in favor. The final step is the approval by the Federal Trade Commission and international regulators. The mega deal, one in three this year (Merck and Schering Plough; and Roche and Genentech) emphasizes the bottom-line industry mantra: diversify to compete. Read more »

The Changing Face of PhRMA

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) announced this week that it is creating a new committee of its board of directors dedicated to small biopharmaceutical companies. The committee will be composed of full and research associate members. In a separate item, late last month, Roche confirmed that it was leaving PhRMA to join the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the US-based trade group representing the biotechnology industry, in the wake of Roche’s recent acquisition of Genentech. Taken on one level, these moves simply reflect an organizational change by a well-established association to better serve and broaden its membership and the strategic shift of one member company. On another level, however, these moves reveal broader dynamics shaping the focus of the pharmaceutical industry. Read more »

Pharma Marketers May Have to Get More Creative

Angie Drakulich PharmTech editorWe’ve all seen trademarked skeletons, wall charts, calendars, paperweights, and supplies in doctors’ offices. And it’s blatantly clear that these items came from pharmaceutical companies—their names are written all over them. But soon, those long waits in the examining room before the doctor comes in may be quite boring because there won’t be much to look at. Read more »

Merck–CIGNA Pave Path for Performance Comparison

Angie Drakulich PharmTech editorMerck & Co has joined forces with global health services company CIGNA in a first for the pharma/health insurance industry. Read more »

Pharma Takes Opposite Stands on Cardio Drug Research

Maribel Rios PharmTech editorProspects for new heart-disease therapies looked grim last fall, when one of the world’s top drug companies, Pfizer, announced it would drop out of the arena of cardiovascular disease research. The news prompted an opinion letter published in last month’s New England Journal of Medicine regarding the “uncertain future of cardiovascular drug development.” This past week, however, Merck announced it would strengthen its efforts toward new heart-disease therapies through a license agreement with drug developer Cardiome Pharma Corp. of Vancouver, Canada. Read more »

Biologics: A Gamble or Safe Bet?

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editorPfizer announced this week that following a successful completion of its $68-billion acquisition of Wyeth, it will divide its research activities into two separate organizations, one for small molecules and one for biologics and vaccines. The reorganization is but a microcosm of Big Pharma’s larger strategic interest to strengthen its position in biologics with the hopes of improving its return on research and development (R&D). But is the calculus of intensifying R&D into biologics correct? Read more »

Eli Lilly Interested in Smaller Acquisitions, Not Mega-Merger

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorEli Lilly & Co. (Indianapolis) CEO John Lechleiter earlier this week told the Financial Times that he is not interested in becoming part of the recent mega-merger trend (see Pfizer+Wyeth, Merck+Schering-Plough and Roche+Genentech). Rumors and speculation have had some thinking Lilly+Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) would be the next big thing, but Lechleiter specifically ended rumors of that combination and remained critical of Big Pharma’s recent big deals. Read more »

Brain Trust or Brain Drain?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorHow do you boost a flagging pipeline? One strategy is to enlist more researchers to find promising drug candidates. Two heads are better than one, and the more minds applied to the task, the more likely they will find increasingly elusive new therapies. The Pfizer–Wyeth and Merck–Schering Plough mergers are partly based on this premise.

Trouble is, the premise might not hold water. Read more »

Roche and Genentech Finally Decide on $46.8 Billion Deal

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorEnding nearly eight months of negotiations, Roche and Genentech agreed yesterday on a price of $95 per share in cash (approximately $46.8 billion) for Roche to acquire the 44% of Genentech it doesn’t already own. Read more »

The Other New Jersey Giants

Erik Greb PharmTech editorIt’s déjà vu all over again. Little more than a month after Pfizer (New York) announced that it would acquire Wyeth (Madison, NJ), Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ) and Schering-Plough (Kenilworth, NJ) have unveiled their own merger agreement. The combined company will be called Merck and be based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Schering-Plough CEO Fred Hassan will help during the merger, but Merck’s CEO Richard Clark will lead the combined company. Read more »

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