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Crohn's Disease: European Contenders Lead

Executive Summary

Companies--in particular Europeans--are developing plenty of new biotech treatments for Crohn's disease. But the regulatory path is tough. This painful inflammatory bowel disease is complex and intermittent and responds well to placebo. As such, companies routinely miss primary endpoints-as was recently the case for Elan's Antegren and Schering's Leukine. But Antegren, Celltech's CDP-870, and Leukine could, if approved, reshape their owner's prospects-and potentially give Europe's small-and mid-sized firms the boost they need.

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When Big Pharma companies hand back licensed products to their biotech originators it's generally considered bad news for the biotech. But it needn't always be so. Pfizer's decision to return rights to Celltech's anti-inflammatory antibody CDP 870 hit Celltech's share price hard, but could ultimately open up a wealth of options and opportunities to the company.

Actelion: A Model for European Biotech

Actelion reached profitability in record time by focusing from the start on the development and commercial end of the business. It in-licensed an unusually late-stage pipeline made up of compounds its founders helped develop, and built its own global sales and marketing infrastructure to maximize the value of its projects. Now Actelion plans to leverage growing profits to go back and nurture earlier stage research-a top-down biotech-building model that may prove inspirational to others.

Elan Recovery Slowed By King

King Pharmaceuticals' decision to abandon its $850 million purchase of Elan's primary care franchise is the first serious setback to the embattled Irish firm's recovery plan. But with several remaining saleable assets and a potential blockbuster in Phase III autoimmune therapy Antegren, all is not lost.

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