Good Will Marketing
Abbott's new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Humira, is up against two drugs that between them generate $3 billion in sales annually. To help generate attention and distinguish the drug, Abbott is taking some unusual steps. It's offering to give drug away free to senior citizens who lack prescription drug benefits, and running general-awareness advertisements that talk about the disease rather than the drug. Contrary to conventional wisdom of what works in a crowded market, Abbott believes Humira's advantages are so compelling, that boosting the number of patients who go to see doctors will win market share for the drug--despite its coming third to market.
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Israeli start-up Can-Fite is developing small-molecule agonists of the adenosine A3 receptor, having come to its lead compound (in-licensed from the NIH) in the course of investigating why cancer never metastasizes to muscle tissue. The firm says mechanistic studies indicate that its lead compound could also treat inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Roche/Genentech oncology partnering maintained a robust dealmaking pace through the pandemic, keeping the percentage of partnered R&D programs at about 50% of the cancer drug pipeline.