Pfizer's Expensive Risk-Reduction Strategy: In-License
One way of diversifying risk is in-licensing, an expensive game in which Pfizer had never been an ambitious bidder. But the price of recent late-stage deals, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb's in licensing of Lipha's Glucophage, has helped convince Pfizer that it's going to have to pay up if it is to become a serious dealmaker.
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In an interview, Peter Corr, the new head of the industry's largest R&D organization, argues that scale, properly managed, can solve the key problem for innovative R&D organizations: the ability to feed both early- and late-stage development. Smaller firms create unbridgeable pipeline gaps by having to focus on the late-stage and starving the early work. Moreover, Pfizer is making a huge investment in attrition-reducing early-clinical technologies, especially imaging, to find biomarkers which will tell researchers whether a drug is working in humans before it begins more expensive trials. Again scale is crucial: Pfizer's investment can be amortized over a large number of projects, making it financially more affordable and productive for Pfizer than a similar investment would be for smaller companies. To increase the utilization and productivity of this investment, Corr wants to increase Pfizer's in-licensing of preclinical and Phase I compounds--a dramatic change in Pfizer's licensing habits, which have focused on late-stage opportunities and the acquisition of discovery platforms.
Pricing set somewhere down the middle as Moderna reaches deal with US government on initial supplies of its mRNA vaccine. Also, Evidence Accelerator's next joint parallel analysis projects are remdesivir in hospitalized patients and coagulopathy.
House Democrats criticized the administration’s response to the pandemic in a new report. See what Rep. James Clyburn, chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, said about it here.