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BioSpace BioPharm Exec
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Too Big to Be Responsible?

I try not to focus on the negative, but some industry shenanigans have been hard to ignore lately. Yet what's perhaps more galling than various wrongdoings is the refusal of anyone at the highest levels to accept responsibility.

Take Howard Solomon, now 83, who has been CEO of Forest Laboratories since 1977. There's no question Solomon has been an effective leader. He was one of the first people in the industry to see the value of a marketing-focused business model based around in-licensing drugs rather than expensive discovery and early development. That's an approach that is still popular, some 30 years later. He oversaw the in-licensing of Celexa--the antidepressant that proved transformative to the company--from Lundbeck in 1996, spurred by his son's struggles with depression. More...

More By Karl Thiel

Biogen Idec tacked on over $3 billion in value in a single day after reporting encouraging clinical news on its experimental multiple sclerosis drug, BG-12. Companies have been racing to introduce MS pills, rather than an injections or infusions, with Novartis's Gilenya the only drug in that category currently on the market. Going by the figures Biogen put out, BG-12 sounds more effective than Teva's competing effort--which is why that stock slumped as Biogen soared. Also, look forward to head-to-head data on Lucentis v. Avastin in macular degeneration, coming in the next few days!
-KT

Biogen Idec, Inc. (Massachusetts) (BIIB) Shares Soar on Multiple Sclerosis Drug Data
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Amgen (AMGN) and UCB, Inc. (UCBJF.PK) Announce Positive Phase 2 Results of AMG 785/CDP7851 in Patients With Postmenopausal Osteoporosis (PMO)
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Amarin Corporation PLC (AMRN)'s Late-stage AMR101 Study Meets Key Goals In Mixed Dyslipidemia Patients
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Novartis AG, Sosei Co., Ltd. COPD Drug Phase III Trial Meets Primary Endpoint
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Genzyme Corporation (GENZ)'s MS Drug Shows Promising 5-Year Results
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More Bench To Clinic News
Venerable venture firm SR One can't seem to hold onto a leader--Christoph Westphal is leaving almost exactly a year after he came. And we continue to see evidence that executive compensation climbs in great years, and even more in not-so-great years: Merck's Richard Clarke got a pretty sweet send-off into retirement. That meant giving him a lot more options, since the previous batch weren't, you know, actually growing in value. Still, his package was considerably smaller than Amgen's Kevin Sharer. Sharer also got a big boost in options, to make up for the fact that the company missed its shareholder return target.
-KT

Christoph Westphal Leaving GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)'s SR One to Focus on Longwood Founders Fund
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Former Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) CEO Saw 65 Pct 2010 Compensation Hike
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Amgen (AMGN) CEO Got $21 Million in 2010 Compensation
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Warner Chilcott, PLC (WCRX) to Restructure In Europe; 500 Jobs Affected
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Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Names Torres President at McNeil Consumer Healthcare Unit
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More Career Track News
Valeant's $5.7 billion hostile bid for Cephalon came just a little too late to make it in our last issue, but here's the official response: No thank you. (Valeant is hinting it could raise its offer with a bit of cooperation from Cephalon, but it is also trying to replace Cephalon's board with its own nominees.) Meanwhile, Sanofi continues the hip trend of partnering with academia for early-stage research. That's neither its first academic collaboration, nor the industry's--they're getting pretty popular these days. Pfizer's link-up with Zacharon show just how important rare diseases have become, even to Big Pharma.
-KT

Cephalon, Inc. (CEPH) Spurns Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX)'s $5.7 Billion Hostile Bid as Too Low
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Sanofi-Aventis (France) (SASY.PA) Enters into Collaboration Agreement with Stanford University Bio-X to Focus on Early-Stage Scientific Research
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Exelixis, Inc. (EXEL) Said to Hire Goldman, Sachs & Co. to Field Possible Takeover Approaches; Shares Rise on Speculation
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Zacharon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Announces Potential $200 Million Collaboration With Pfizer Inc. (PFE) to Develop Drugs for Multiple Rare Disorders
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Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) to Acquire Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals for $430 Million
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More Golden Handshakes News

Top Jobs
• BioCapital (Blacksburg, Virginia)

Intrexon Corporation
Vice President, High Throughput Bioassays
The Vice President, High Throughput Bioassays will be responsible for delivery of high throughput, biochemical, and cell-based assays as a core service provided to the commercial divisions and Applied Research Unit of Intrexon Corporation.

• Biotech Bay (Bay Area, California)

Setren, Smallberg & Associates, Inc.
Executive/Senior Medical Director
Dynamic biotechnology company seeks has two Executive/Senior Medical Director opportunities available. These individuals will utilize their expertise in clinical research or drug development and join a multidisciplinary research and commercialization team, in order to direct the clinical evaluation of new drugs. The candidate, who will report to the Vice-President of Clinical Science, should be fluent in clinical study, program design and execution.

• Pharm Country (Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania)

LifeScan, Inc. (A Johnson & Johnson Company)
Director, Health Economics & Outcomes Research
The Director, Health Economics & Outcomes Research (HE&OR), is in the Research and Development (R&D) rather than the Commercial track, and reports directly to the Vice President, Worldwide Medical Affairs. In this highly strategic position, the Director will oversee and execute the planning, development, implementation, publications, and training for HE&OR initiatives designed to optimize the development and commercialization of key products within LifeScan and Animas using the disciplines of health services research, health economics, outcomes research and measurement, and health policy.

• Genetown (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Pfizer Inc.
Chief of Staff
As a member of the BTx R&D LT, this position will operate as a senior level operations liaison and thought-partner on a variety of strategic initiatives, on-going internal and external deliverables, and special projects, working with the Senior Vice President of BTx Research, the leadership team, and other PGRD and Pfizer functions and departments.

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Genetown Career Fair Genetown Career Fair
Sheraton Boston, Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 11am to 4pm . Job seekers can spend a day with HR representatives and Hiring Managers from top biotech, pharma, and medical device companies in the Northeast region.
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Hyatt Regency Irvine, Monday, June 6, 2011, 1pm to 6pm. Job seekers can spend a day with HR representatives and Hiring Managers from top biotech, pharma, and medical device companies in the Southern California region.
Amgen has officially grown up, wiping out one of the last distinctions between itself and its Big Pharma brethren: The company will begin paying a dividend amounting to about 20% of net income, starting in the second quarter.

And here are three things you don't often hear in the same sentence: $100 million, Series A round, and angel investor. Nevertheless, Ascletis managed to bypass traditional venture capitalists and raise that princely sum from angels in its very first round. Thank Chinese billionaire Jinxing Qi, who made his fortune in China's bubblicious real estate market. Qi is backing Ascletis's U.S.-China hybrid model, which will have the company in-licensing drugs for the Chinese market, but also developing drugs on the cheap in China for global markets.
-KT

Amgen (AMGN) Outlines Strategy, Growth Objectives and Capital Allocation Plans
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US-China Based Ascletis, Inc. Raises $100 Million from Private Chinese Investors for Specialty Therapeutics Venture
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Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Prices IPO at $16 Per Share, Raises $92 Million in Gross Proceeds
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Blueprint Medicines Secures $40 Million Series A Financing to Translate New Molecular Data into Personalized Cancer Treatments
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Tranzyme Pharma Announces Pricing of Its Initial Public Offering, Raises $53.8M
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More Money Talk News

K-V Pharmaceutical got quite a bit of negative attention after the approval of Makena, a drug for pre-term labor that has been around in one form or another since 1956. FDA has made it a mission to get these older, unapproved drugs on the books. The companies that make the efforts to do the studies and jump through the regulatory hoops naturally charge more for the officially approved products. But in this case, K-V was charging up to $1,500 a shot for something previously available for ten bucks. Public outcry is one thing, but FDA made it clear it wasn't going to make it a priority to go after the makers of the unapproved version of the drug, so K-V has backed down and agreed to cut its price.

Merck and J&J have settled their ongoing dispute about the ownership and distribution of the lucrative Remicade and Simponi rheumatoid arthritis franchise. And after Forest Labs' admission of illegal marketing of its antidepressants to children, the Dept. of Health and Human Services is trying to oust the company's 83-year-old CEO by refusing to do business with him. His response? I know nothing!
-KT
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Reach Agreement on Arthritis Drugs; J&J Will Receive One-Time Payment of $500 Million
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Feds Seek to Oust Forest Laboratories, Inc. (FRX) CEO Solomon
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K-V Pharmaceutical Co. Slashes Prices Of Preterm Labor Drug After GFS Chemicals, Inc. Move
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FDA Releases Opioid Class-Wide REMS
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Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) Announces Allowance of U.S. Patent Application for AMPYRA(R) (dalfampridine) Covering Methods of Use for Improving Walking in Multiple Sclerosis
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More Legal Briefs News
This issue is just a little too early to include word on how an FDA advisory committee, convened for April 28, will come down on Vertex Pharmaceuticals' anticipated hepatitis C drug Telaprevir. (Seems like a shoo-in, but we'll know for sure soon.) However, we do have other highlights from the month: Lilly, Amylin, and Alkermes finally found a little European love for diabetes drug Bydureon after two FDA rejections. And AstraZeneca got the first approved treatment for medullary thyroid cancer. That happens to be the same indication Exelixis is going after for an initial approval of its XL-184. Both compounds share a target, and both companies are anticipating other, more common cancers that may respond to these drugs.
-KT
Eli Lilly and Company (LLY)'s BYDUREON Recommended for Approval in Europe
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FDA Approves AstraZeneca PLC (AZN)'s New Treatment for Rare Form of Thyroid Cancer
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FDA Approves Genentech (RHHBY)'s Actemra to Treat Rare Form of Juvenile Arthritis
More...

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Novartis Corporation (NVS) Drugs Get FDA Panel Recommendation
More...

Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OPTR) Wins FDA Advisory Panel's Backing for Fidaxomicin for Treatment of Patients With Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI)
More...


More Rockville Files News

Karl Thiel is an analyst for The Motley Fool, a columnist for BioWorld Today, and a contributor to Nature Biotechnology. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

You may contact Karl Thiel at Karl.thiel@biospace.com.

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