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BioSpace BioPharm Exec
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
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The Price of Togetherness

Is togetherness the latest drug? Will touchy feeliness be the answer to the pharmaceutical industry's crisis of productivity? Collaboration certainly isn't anything new in the life sciences, but the nature and structure of partnerships is evolving to the point that many companies are now contemplating pooling their resources...and diluting their returns.

Certainly the past decade has been marked by more partnerships between industry and academia, where there has been an effort to More...

More By Karl Thiel

It's hard to know what to pick from a wealth of interesting data coming out of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. There aren't supposed to be winners and losers, but that doesn't stop everyone from reporting the race results. In that spirit, you certainly have to give credit to Bristol-Myers Squibb and its PD-1 antibody BMS-936558 for creating a lot of buzz. Johnson & Johnson caused a lot of thunder with strong results on its prostate cancer drug Zytiga, much to the chagrin of Dendreon shareholders, although some observers are wondering if maybe the study should have gone on just a little bit longer. And Roche/Immunogen wowed the crowd with the breast cancer drug T-DM1. Other strong contenders include Medivation, GlaxoSmithKline, Celldex Therapeutics, Synta Pharmaceuticals (for behind-the-scenes buzz on its lung cancer drug rather than data), Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Arqule, and Exelixis. -KT
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) Immune Drug Shows Promise in Three Cancers, Success May Spur Industry Race

ImmunoGen, Inc. (IMGN) Announces Development of Trastuzumab Emtansine for Early Stage HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Prostate Cancer Drug So Effective Trial Stopped

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Melanoma Drugs Beat Chemo in Pivotal Trials

Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Xalkori Improves Lung Cancer Patients' Survival in Phase III Trial

More Bench To Clinic News
Alexion has been an amazing success story, led by cofounders Leonard Bell and Stephen Squinto since 1992. Now it will be the anchor tenant in a new $100 million facility being created as part of the redevelopment of New Haven's downtown. Chelsea is tightening its belt while it tries again to win approval for Northera, its drug to treat neurogenic orthostatic hypotension that got support from a advisory panel but more questions from FDA. And Carl Icahn hasn't given up on Forest Labs, or his desire to change the board. -KT
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN) to Create 300 New Jobs, Establishes $100 Million Global HQ in New Haven

Icahn Nominates Four for Forest Laboratories, Inc. (FRX) Board in Second Fight

Chelsea Therapeutics, Inc. (CHTP) Cuts Exec Pay by 25% & Suspends Bonuses

Targacept, Inc. (TRGT)'s Chief Executive deBethizy Steps Down in Shake-Up

Lundbeck Inc. (LUN.CO) to Cut 600 Jobs in Europe to Contain Costs

More Career Track News
Alzheimer's disease has something in common with obesity, sepsis and psoriasis. It is a sinkhole of failed trials with only modest successes to date, but the prize is so large that drug companies can't help but keep trying. A recent survey of institutional investors doesn't give very good odds of success to Eli Lilly or Pfizer, two companies expecting high-profile clinical trial results on Alzheimer's drugs this summer. But here comes Roche, looking to take its turn at the wheel by snapping up anti-Tau antibodies from AC Immune. It's not disclosed how much they are investing upfront--terms are certainly skewed towards milestones. With the number of Alzheimer's cases expected to double over the next couple decades, it's no surprise drug companies are willing to take on a lot of risk. -KT
Roche (RHHBY)'s Genentech (RHHBY) Grabs Alzheimer's Drug Rights From AC Immune SA for $418 Million-Plus

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (RIGL) Strike Potential $100 Million Asthma Drug Deal

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Rumored to be Buying $5 Billion BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (BMRN)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pays $227 Million for Basilea Pharmaceutica (BSLN.SW) Eczema Drug

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) Bids $4 Billion for Diabetes Specialist Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMLN)

More Golden Handshakes News

Top Jobs
• Biotech Bay (Redwood City, California)

Talon Biometrics
Chief Technical Officer
The CTO will lead Talon's research effort, and will be involved in all aspects of assay development including design of nucleic acid isolation methods from different sample types, design of highly multiplexed, real-time PCR and RT-PCR assays, probe design and validation, test creation and validation, systems integration, and research supporting regulatory approvals. The CTO will be expected to participate in presentations both to institutional funding sources and to prospective customers.

• Biotech Bay (San Francisco, California)

Director/Senior Director, Quality Assurance
Responsible for all activities involving quality assurance and compliance with applicable regulatory requirements; development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure quality standards in compliance with relevant regulatory and quality guidelines. The Director/Sr. Director of QA is responsible for managing the group and ensuring that appropriate systems and resources are available to maintain optimal quality systems.

• BioMidwest (Northbrook, Illinois)

Astellas Pharma US
Vice President, Global Clinical Science
Reports to the head of Global Development Operations, is a member of GDO senior leadership team and participates in the creation and execution of GDO mission, objectives and 3-5 year strategic plan. Also participates in the creation and use of an integrated single GDO set of standards, processes and tools for the design, execution and reporting of clinical trials in APGD etc.

• Genetown (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

VP of Product Development
Required is a true Product Development leader, an experienced, highly motivated self-starter with proven abilities to proactively organize, manage and drive the many deliverables associated with a variety of major molecular diagnostic related partnerships. Reporting to the CEO, the VP of Product Development will work closely with the executive team (Research, Quality Assurance, Manufacturing, Business Development/Legal & HR) to ensure that agreed upon objectives/milestones occur in a timely and accurate fashion.

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Hey, Facebook, thanks for the IPO market. There hasn't been a single IPO since the social network flopped into the public markets, stifling already anemic demand for new issues in the biotech industry. But despite companies like Cathay Industrial Biotech and Aurora Diagnostics withdrawing their filings, a couple of intrepid companies are still moving forward. Tesaro, which is pursuing a late-stage post-chemo anti-emetic, has some blue chip backers and is looking for a valuation in the neighborhood of $360 million post-IPO. Global Blood Therapeutics landed a huge Series A round to go after sickle cell disease--a major health problem that has attracted little commercial interest in recent years. -KT
Global Blood Therapeutics, Third Rock Ventures's First West Coast Startup, Gets $41 Million

Tesaro, Inc. Sets Terms for $81 Million US IPO

Cytokinetics, Inc. (CYTK) Nabs $60 Million Financing

New Firm Select BioVentures Seeks $200 Million for Biotech Deals in Sunshine State

Rhythm Drums Up $25 Million to Advance Diabetes and Obesity Drugs

More Money Talk News

A little over a year ago, KV Pharmaceutical attracted a lot of ill will by pricing its newly approved Makena at about $1,500 a dose--while the generic version that had been for decades formulated by pharmacists usually only cost $10 to $20. In the outcry, FDA even took the unusual step of saying it was unlikely to take any enforcement actions against pharmacists who continued to compound the product, which in turn made some insurers deny coverage for the approved version. Well, it appears KV has finally gotten the agency back on its side, at least in part. The agency now plans to apply "normal enforcement policies" regarding pharmacists who roll their own. And J&J looks like it is finally close to putting the Risperdal marketing controversy behind it--at a price that could exceed $2 billion. -KT
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Close to Settling Off-Label Probes

KV Pharmaceutical : FDA Issues New Update on Makena

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) Paid $896 Million in Prempro Accords, Filing Shows

Roche (RHHBY) Ignores 80,000 Cases of Possible Adverse Drug Reactions

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is Challenging Biotech Drug Copies, Protects Humira's Secrets

More Legal Briefs News
Gilead will have to wait longer on a decision for the world's first HIV preventative. FDA is trying to grapple with how to label and monitor a drug that could give at-risk patents a false sense of security. It's a difficult situation, with even some AIDS patient groups calling on the agency not to grant approval because it may reduce condom usage, while others champion the addition of a new weapon in the arsenal. No surprise they want an extra three months to consider their next move, but given the data it seems they have no choice but to green-light the drug. -KT
FDA Delays Its Decision on Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)'s Anti-HIV Pill

Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ONXX) Surges on FDA Panel Vote for Blood-Cancer Drug

Celgene Corporation (CELG) Revlimid Growth Plans Stopped Dead

Celgene (CELG) Revlimid Growth Plans Stopped Dead

FDA OKs Roche (RHHBY)'s New Breast Cancer Drug

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.

BioSpace, Inc.
6465 South Greenwood Plaza, Suite 400
Centennial, Colorado 80111 U.S.A.
Phone: 877-277-7585
Fax: 800-595-2929
BioSpace, Inc.
90 New Montgomery Street, Suite 414
San Francisco, California 94105 U.S.A.
Phone: 877-277-7585
Fax: 415-576-9217

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