Lundbeck: Cipralex Falters in Europe
Lundbeck had appeared well prepared to meet the challenge of losing patent protection on its biggest selling drug, anti-depressant Cipramil. Switching patients to single isomer follow-on Cipralex before generic Cipramil could take hold worked for US marketing partner Forest. But getting follow-on products to market in cost-conscious, skeptical Europe is far harder, as Lundbeck is now learning to its cost.
You may also be interested in...
While the pharmaceutical industry bemoans the European climate, with its pricing and reimbursement challenges and rationing of access to drugs, Novartis' experience with Gleevec shows that with a truly innovative product that clearly addresses an unmet medical need, it's not impossible to do well in Europe.
Lundbeck's $270 million deal with Merck & Co. to develop and commercialize the Phase III gaboxadol for sleep disorders in the US finally gives the Danish CNS specialist a foothold in the US market. Gaboxadol provides Merck an entry into the burgeoning insomnia market and the deal-the company's largest-ever single-product pact-is indicative of the Big Pharma's growing flexibility and acceptance of external research.
The low-risk specialty pharmaceuticals model has never been more fashionable, in part thanks to the success of one of Europe's in-licensing pioneers, Shire. Shire's founder Harry Stratford is now having another go with Strakan, but incorporating R&D far earlier in Strakan's evolution than has been the case at Shire, thereby attempting to address the thorny question of long-term sustainability-one that Shire and other more mature in-licensing firms are currently grappling with.