Cerimon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
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In recent years, drug reformulation has emerged as a popular defence strategy among pharmaceutical companies seeking to prolong the life cycles of their best-selling products. It has also attracted growing interest from specialist companies developing novel formulations of off-patent drugs and which either launch them as replacements for the originator products, or reposition them for new indications.
Cerimon Pharmaceuticals' once-daily topical-patch formulation of the NSAID diclofenac gave significantly better average pain relief than placebo in ankle-sprain patients who carried out their daily activities in a Phase II trial, at the third day in the study.
The industry's genericization problem will seriously constrain Big Pharma's ability to pay for late-stage development on all its products. One potential solution is being developed by Pfizer, whose top R&D execs see out-partnering as a way to free up resources for key programs and to expand R&D capacity. In this interview with R&D boss Martin Mackay, Mackay reports that Pfizer is building up a war-chest of out-licensing and partnering candidates, pursuing a wide variety of transactions--including project financing, straight out-licensing and spinoffs. But the extent of Pfizer's long-term commitment to out-partnering still isn't clear.
Nearly all the meters on pharma's pipeline are reading critical. With licensing and M&A increasingly a series of high-priced auctions, Big Pharma is casting about, often desperately, for new business-development strategies. And one place they're beginning to look is corporate venture capital, traditionally a way to provide drug companies with a window on new technologies. But that means finding a way to break through the seemingly impenetrable wall between corporate venture investing and other corporate and research activities. Thus, companies have embarked on a number of different strategies, ranging from the traditional to the radically new and aggressive. Getting the equity investor and the asset-hungry pharma partner to co-exist peacefully has aroused plenty of both skepticism and confusion Nevertheless, there's still a promising way for drug companies to get value from start-ups beyond mere equity appreciation--investing de-prioritized drug candidates, not merely capital.
- Specialty Pharmaceuticals