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Insomnia: Pharma Wakes Up to the Next Huge CNS Market

Executive Summary

The insomnia market is entering a growth spurt enabled and fueled by more effective and safer drugs and their intense promotion: think depression in 1990, without the social stigma. The recent launch of three new products-Sepracor Inc.'s eszopiclone (Lunesta), Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.'s ramelteon (Rozerem) and Sanofi-Aventis' controlled-release zolpidem (Ambien CR)-and the advertising blitz that has accompanied Lunesta and Ambien CR, has brought the plight of insomnia sufferers to the fore. And as it grows, market shares in insomnia can shift quickly.

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Actelion Follows Innovation into GP Markets

Actelion has become Europe's most successful R&D-based biotech largely on the success of Tracleer for PAH, a specialist indication. Now, facing competition in PAH, but in line with its strategy of following innovation wherever it leads, the company's starting to build a primary care-focused commercial operation to support GP-targeted pipeline assets. That takes Actelion into a very new game, and risks destroying the laissez-faire culture seen as crucial to its unusually high R&D productivity. But Actelion reckons a well-planned, step-wise, and nimble approach to primary care marketing will allow it to retain both the maximum value from its drugs, and its biotech-ness.

Actelion Follows Innovation into GP Markets

Actelion has become Europe's most successful R&D-based biotech largely on the success of Tracleer for PAH, a specialist indication. Now, facing competition in PAH, but in line with its strategy of following innovation wherever it leads, the company's starting to build a primary care-focused commercial operation to support GP-targeted pipeline assets. That takes Actelion into a very new game, and risks destroying the laissez-faire culture seen as crucial to its unusually high R&D productivity. But Actelion reckons a well-planned, step-wise, and nimble approach to primary care marketing will allow it to retain both the maximum value from its drugs, and its biotech-ness.

GSK/Actelion: Phase III Value Is in the Eye of the Beholder

GSK paid a very large upfront fee ($148mm) for access to Actelion's Phase III insomnia candidate almorexant, but still some were disappointed; the Big Pharma is only paying 40% of the costs of the Phase III program. The truth is that even late-stage primary care assets--especially those with novel mechanisms of action--are under intense regulatory scrutiny and licensors are having to take on more risk.

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