Pfizer R&D: The Biggest Pharmaceutical Experiment
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.
You may also be interested in...
Canary in the Coalmine: Pfizer R&D
In an interview, Pfizer's head of R&D, John LaMattina, discusses R&D's position as the part of the company most vulnerable to cuts in response to weakening sales. Among other issues, LaMattina discusses Pfizer's increasing interest in large molecules, specialist markets and combination products, and the role external research will play in filling a pipeline facing significant near-term generic pressures. He also details Pfizer's advantages of scale, particularly in developing portfolios of products in individual disease areas for sale to major customers interested in large discounted, disease-managed product packages.
Bristol's Bid for Revival
Without the revenue increases to fuel R&D budget growth, Bristol-Myers' new CSO James Palmer must make more of existing assets. As he describes it in this interview, his conservative approach is symbolic of an entire industry waking up to its over-reliance on internal discovery and unvalidated targets. And as part of his risk-lowering strategy, he will continue to move the company away from low-acuity primary-care markets to far more specialized, higher-acuity segments where safety is less of a concern with regulators than efficacy.
Pfizer vs. J&J: Antithesis to Synthesis
The two polar opposites of pharmaceutical strategy--Pfizer with its primary-care, highly centrallized approach and J&J with its niches and decentralization--are testing the limits of their models' capabilities. But these two antitheses are now beginning to move towards a synthesis.