A NME Letdown for Emerging Pharma

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor “To the victor belongs the spoils,” goes the saying, but two emerging pharmaceutical companies, Epix Pharmaceuticals and Progenics Pharmaceuticals, show how difficult it is for smaller pharmaceutical companies to live up to that axiom during the financial downturn. Both companies earned a coveted prize in 2008, FDA approval of a new molecular entity (NME), and both have collaboration agreements with Big Pharma. But as is the case with many companies, restructuring and strategies for cash conservation are the order of the day. Read more »

The Gathering Storm of Generics

Erik Greb PharmTech editorLike a snowball that gets bigger and bigger as it hurtles down the side of a mountain, generic drugs pose an increasingly large threat to branded pharmaceutical companies. Wolters Kluwer Health’s annual analysis reveals that more than 60% of all US prescriptions filled in 2008 were generics. For orally administered medicines, the percentage was even greater. In 2008, 2.4 billion prescriptions were filled for generic drugs, and only 1.4 billion for branded therapies—an unprecedented divide, according to the report.

What’s Big Pharma to do? 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 »

Possible Suitors in Big Pharma M&A

Patricia Van Arnum PharmTech editor Pfizer’s pending $68-billion merger with Wyeth has raised the question on possible suitors in another merger among the pharmaceutical majors. A recent article in the New York Times gained the input of Wall Street analysts, who speculate that Merck, Sanofi-Aventis, and Johnson & Johnson may be next in line to seek acquisitions among their Big Pharma brethen or in select biotechnology companies. Read more »

What a Week for Job Losses

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorSome people saw it coming. Others were blindsided by a pink slip. The recent wave of job cuts this week added more people to the growing ranks of the nation’s unemployed. A CNNMoney article today puts the week’s total to more than 100,000 so far. Read more »

Pfizer & Wyeth: When the Going Gets Tough, the Big Get Bigger

Erik Greb PharmTech editorIt’s official. The wires had been buzzing with rumors for several days, and today Pfizer (New York) announced that it would acquire Wyeth (Madison, NJ) for about $68 billion. The transaction will bolster Pfizer’s pipeline and improve its biopharmaceutical portfolio with the addition of Wyeth’s “Prevnar” pneumococcal vaccine and “Enbrel” arthritis treatment. The resulting company will be so diversified that it expects that no drug will account for more than 10% of its revenue in 2012, according to a Pfizer press release. Read more »

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