Leaner, Meaner R&D

Erik Greb PharmTech editorA sizeable chunk of Big Pharma’s sales will fall off the dreaded patent cliff before the year is out. Patent expirations will allow competitors to market, and patients to buy, generic versions of branded drugs. A renewed focus on discovering and developing new therapies would seem to be the obvious solution for Big Pharma. Yet at least one observer predicts cuts in research and development (R&D) spending throughout the industry. Read more »

Bugbear Turned Booster

Erik Greb PharmTech editorPharmaceutical companies can no longer take strong growth for granted, and CEOs and shareholders are lowering their expectations about future performance. The industry’s global sales growth likely will be limited to 1.3% until 2015, according to Joe Dixon, a spokesperson for Datamonitor. Compare this anemic figure to the 7.1% growth rate that manufacturers enjoyed from 2003 to 2009, and you’ll see little reason for joy in drugville. Read more »

Novartis Could Apply Minds and Math to R&D

Erik Greb PharmTech editorLast Monday, I argued that renewed investment in research and development would be the pharmaceutical industry’s surest route back to prosperity. An investment that Novartis (Basel) made a few days later indicated that the company seems to agree with me. What’s more, the investment will create new jobs in the US. 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 »

Eli Lilly CEO Calls for Regional Innovation Clusters

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor In the keynote address to a conference on Regional Innovation Clusters on Sept. 23, 2010, John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman, president, and CEO of Eli Lilly, called for federal policies that further encourage regional economic innovation as a key to renewing the nation’s economy. Lechleiter addressed a broad spectrum of policymakers, including members of the Obama administration, at a conference co-hosted by The Brookings Institution, the Center for American Progress, the Council on Competitiveness, and the National Association of Development Organizations. Read more »

Cheap and Easy Vaccine Production Coming Soon?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThe global recession is still prompting a lot of belt tightening. Patients and healthcare payers are looking for ways to cut costs, and drugmakers are trying to boost their manufacturing efficiencies. Developing countries naturally are feeling the squeeze more keenly. Budget constraints in those nations could keep patients from receiving necessary vaccines, which often are produced from recombinant proteins in a multistep process that is complicated and expensive. Read more »

Making the R&D Tax Credit Permanent

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor On Wednesday Sept. 8, President Barack Obama is scheduled to give a speech in Cleveland, Ohio, where he is expected to provide a more detailed plan for economic recovery, a plan that is likely to include tax incentives for businesses. One incentive that he is expected to bring up in his speech is to ask Congress to approve $100 billion to expand and permanently extend tax credits for businesses that invest in research and development (R&D). That would be welcomed news for businesses overall and for pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms specifically. Read more »

Journey to the Center of the Mind

Erik Greb PharmTech editorPharmaceutical companies sometimes explain their unimpressive pipelines by saying that it’s become harder to discover and develop new drugs. Believing that the low-hanging fruit has been picked already, manufacturers are focusing on serving small patient populations. But a new paper suggests that the industry may be overlooking the potential of a particular class of drugs to treat tens of millions of patients. Read more »

Building the Right Incentives

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor Last week, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sam Brownback (R-KS), and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced legislation, the Creating Hope Act of 2010 (S 3697), to provide incentives for drug companies to develop treatments for rare and neglected pediatric diseases. The legislation hopes to build on a private–public model to encourage targeted development for rare diseases. Read more »

The US Treasury Shows R&D Scientists Some Love

Erik Greb PharmTech editorResearch and development (R&D) scientists may have been feeling down in the dumps lately. Many of them have lost their jobs in the last few months as a result of mergers and cost-cutting projects. But these sometimes underappreciated workers may soon get more respect, thanks to a US government initiative. Read more »

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