Will “Robust Pipeline” Yield More New Drugs?

Jill Wechsler Washington EditorBiopharmaceutical companies are touting their huge investment in R&D, which has filled the drug pipeline with more potential first-in-class medicines, including orphan drugs, personalized medicines and new therapies based on novel scientific strategies. A report by the Analysis Group for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) documents more than 5,000 new medicines in the pipeline globally, many for untreated diseases and life-threatening conditions. The promise is that this more robust pipeline will lead to more new critical therapies for patients. Read more »

Two Early Cancer Studies Show Promise

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThe coming patent cliff and the nation’s continuing economic problems have tightened many drugmakers’ R&D budgets. Cancer research has remained a priority, however, as GE Healthcare’s recent $1-billion investment in oncology demonstrates. Two recent studies show the importance of this research by offering glimmers of hope. Read more »

Changing Times for Pharma Chemical Outsourcing

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor The Pharma ChemOutsourcing conference, an annual event that brings together pharmaceutical companies, CROs, and CMOs to discuss industry trends and perspectives, was held in Long Branch, New Jersey, last week. The central question at the heart of many of the discussions was a fundamental but important one: where is the opportunity in pharmaceutical outsourcing, specifically in pharmaceutical chemical development and manufacturing? Read more »

Woodcock Cites a “Turning Point” in Drug Development

Erik Greb PharmTech editor

Some drugmakers have blamed what they see as a slow and overly cautious FDA for the industry’s weak pipelines. Last week, I cited drug-approval figures to show that the agency was not standing in the way of innovation. A closer look at the figures contradicts another part of the critics’ argument—the industry’s pipelines may not be so weak after all. Read more »

Weak Pipelines? Don’t Blame FDA.

Erik Greb PharmTech editorFacility rationalizations, outsourcing, and staff reductions can provide only so much of a cushion to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturers about to drop off the patent cliff. The ideal way to remain profitable is to discover and develop innovative new drugs, but this task has proven increasingly difficult for drugmakers over the past few years. Jonathan Leff, a managing director at venture-capital firm Warburg Pincus, says that FDA is partly to blame. Read more »

Is Biotech Following in Big Pharma’s Footsteps?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorBiologics are still the hot commodity in the drug industry. Observers call large-molecule drugs the therapies of the future, and these medicines’ complexity makes them difficult for would-be follow-on manufacturers to create. Big Pharma companies that have not yet acquired biopharmaceuticals firms are considering doing so to bolster their pipelines and profits. But not all biologics companies are living large, as data from Ernst & Young remind us. Read more »

Big Pharma and Buyer’s Remorse

Erik Greb PharmTech editorTo make up for weak pipelines, and to take arms against a sea of generic-drug competitors, many large pharmaceutical companies have pursued mergers and acquisitions. This strategy began to gain popularity about 10 years ago, and the industry’s new motto seems to be “When the going gets tough, the big get bigger.” Has this strategy improved drugmakers’ pipelines or bottom lines? Read more »

Is Big Pharma Stifling Innovation?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorBig Pharma has offered many explanations for its anemic pipelines. All of the easy drugs have been discovered. Patent law (or another particular form of regulation) stifles innovation. The economy is forcing us to retrench. Although these explanations may be plausible, they all lay the blame elsewhere. Could Big Pharma’s own actions be discouraging research and development (R&D)? Read more »

Success Is Unlikely on sanofi’s Terms

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThere was no joy in Paris, at least at sanofi-aventis (Paris) headquarters, on Friday. When the company’s offer to acquire Genzyme (Cambridge, MA) at $69 per share expired that day, fewer than 1% of the biopharmaceutical company’s outstanding shares had been tendered. In response, sanofi extended its deadline to January 21, 2011 without modifying the terms of its offer. Why should the company expect a different result in six weeks’ time? Read more »

Eli Lilly: the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Everyman

Erik Greb PharmTech editorWall Street analysts gave Eli Lilly (Indianapolis, IN) executives the third degree last Thursday when the company presented its third-quarter results. Lilly’s revenue had increased only 2%, mostly because it had raised its prices. Although demand for its products had stayed flat, the company boosted its profits by 38% mostly through layoffs and cost-cutting measures. The patents on many of the company’s top drugs (e.g., Zyprexa and Actos) will expire in the next few years, however, and no new drugs seem poised to replace them. Analysts wanted to know how Lilly would weather the storm. Read more »

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