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Eli Lilly's Oncology Focus

Executive Summary

On October 6, Eli Lilly & Co. became the latest pharmaceutical company to jump on the cancer bandwagon, with its $6.5 billion acquisition of ImClone Systems Inc.The deal gives Lilly the royalty stream to one marketed product-cetuximab (Erbitux), plus five additional clinical stage compounds, many of which are biologics. The problem is many of the candidate drugs face stiff competition--and the pharma has severely depleted its cash holdings to get the deal signed.

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Bristol-Myers's Grand Ambitions in Oncology

Bristol-Myers aims to become an oncology powerhouse in the next five years. Through M&A, alliances, and internal R&D, Bristol-Myers is building an armamentarium of oncology assets that allows it to take multiple "shots on goal." It is leveraging its past experiences in the field as it also adds new skill sets in biologics, market access, and biomarkers. But the market has become more competitive, as companies look to participate in one of the few growth areas of pharma. Bristol, like others, is carving out space in the Avastin-ineligible or -intolerant portion of the market, particularly in the gastrointestinal, colorectal, and head-and-neck cancer areas. Even if successful, current late-stage development projects aren't likely to contribute much to revenues before 2011-and oncology products have slow ramp-ups. With a patent cliff looming in 2012, the company needs new products now.

Bristol-Myers's Grand Ambitions in Oncology

Bristol-Myers aims to become an oncology powerhouse in the next five years. Through M&A, alliances, and internal R&D, Bristol-Myers is building an armamentarium of oncology assets that allows it to take multiple "shots on goal." It is leveraging its past experiences in the field as it also adds new skill sets in biologics, market access, and biomarkers. But the market has become more competitive, as companies look to participate in one of the few growth areas of pharma. Bristol, like others, is carving out space in the Avastin-ineligible or -intolerant portion of the market, particularly in the gastrointestinal, colorectal, and head-and-neck cancer areas. Even if successful, current late-stage development projects aren't likely to contribute much to revenues before 2011-and oncology products have slow ramp-ups. With a patent cliff looming in 2012, the company needs new products now.

Millennium Prospers Under Takeda--But Will Takeda Get Full Value?

In losing its autonomy as an independently traded entity, Millennium has finally gained the freedom to become a larger player in the oncology space. One year after being acquired by Takeda, the biotech must no longer demonstrate to Wall Street regular quarterly earnings from Velcade, its only product, while trying to fund additional trials and build its pipeline. The success of this new business model fashioned by Takeda for its acquisition is still an open question, but it could provide a winning formula for Big Pharma companies in dire need of rejuvenated pipelines.

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