Aventis: Building on a Base in Diabetes
Aventis is looking to the diabetes market to boost future growth. Lantus, the company's novel once-a-day injectable insulin, will spearhead the move. But can Aventis use an injectable to break into the fast growing Type II segment?
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Novo Nordisk's grand plan for pitting its new basal insulin Levemir against Aventis' dominant Lantus is to promote the product in the context of the company's broader insulin portfolio. Novo believes its portfolio approach should capture a greater overall share of the insulin space than Aventis with its one-size-fits-all strategy.
Denmark's Zealand Pharma inked its second Big Pharma deal in as many months when it out-licensed its lead product, a Phase II diabetes treatment, to Aventis. Zealand's accelerated development of the product--which was tested immediately in patients, bypassing healthy volunteers--provided the firm with clinical proof of prinicple, on a budget.
Large pharma companies haven't set a high priority on developing new drug delivery formulations for their existing portfolios; nor have they been interested in macromolecule development. Thus, the strategic alliance forged in May between giant GSK and small drug-delivery firm Nobex is noteworthy. Not only is it one of the largest deals of its kind, but it also focuses on development of oral insulin for diabetic patients, which presents a challenge that few have attempted to overcome.