ZymoGenetics' Biotech Disconnect
It's logical to think that synthetic thrombin is safer than bovine- or plasma-derived equivalents. But ZymoGenetics is finding out that it's not an easy sell, especially to Wall Street.
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Novo Nordisk's decision to spin off ZymoGenetics in 2000 was 100% inspired by Roche's hands-off relationship with Genentech. The parent claims Zymo's R&D productivity has since increased; its recent ex-US deal with Bayer-Schering on recombinant thrombin proves that Zymo has certainly grown up and left home.
The broad research, development and commercialization alliance inked in September between ZymoGenetics Inc. and Serono SA stands out not only for its size and scope--an unlimited number of proteins and up-front equity purchases and license fees totalling $81.25 million--but also because each partner is a biotech company, and the research chores will be shared from the outset.
Big pharma has faced many evolutions to the pharma playbook of old. New technologies such as wearables introduce behavioral change to patients, while e-commerce giants such as Amazon seek a piece of the Rx action. The health care industry has done a reasonable job of weathering the storm inflicted on its core business model over the years, but it has yet to be a true disruptor. As the world marches on is pharma’s choice to disrupt, or inevitably be disrupted for good?