Bayer Leans on Vardenafil
Dubbed "the new blockbuster" by Bayer AG management, the PDE5 inhibitor vardenafil is by most accounts more potent, faster acting, and less prone to side effects than its pharmaceutical cousin, Pfizer Inc.'s sildenafil (Viagra). But vardenafil's potential-and its role as a potential savior of Bayer's ailing pharmaceuticals division-may be overshadowed by the chinks that this same promise has helped expose in the Bayer armor.
You may also be interested in...
Hard times at drug division Organon have forced Akzo Nobel to cut costs and restructure. As part of this effort, the Dutch conglomerate has implemented an aggressive partnering strategy to maximize the value of its late-stage pharma pipeline. Its potential $370 million pact with Pfizer for the Phase II/III antipsychotic asenapine marks an impressive start, and underscores Akzo's commitment to rebuilding Organon.
Worldwide launches of new PDE5 inhibitors to treat erectile dysfunction are certain to expand the global market for these and other ED therapies. But in Europe, Viagra's brand ubiquity, the prohibition of DTC advertising, and disparate national markets present challenges to firms hoping to dethrone the Pfizer juggernaut.
In its late-stage licensing deal with GW Pharmaceuticals for Sativex, Bayer accepted UK-only rights, and will share the product's value equally with GW. This unusual agreement largely reflects the particular nature of the product. But it also shows that, at least in some situations, biotechs can still partner out their jewels without giving away too much value.