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This article examines the question do external biopharma programs succeed at similar rates as internal projects? IN VIVO examined this question by analyzing the alliances of 2003, mining both Elsevier's Strategic Transactions database and SEC documents, and bolstering these data with independent reporting.
Discovery research is an ever more difficult investment to justify, so companies are placing greater emphasis on mining discoveries that have already been made but whose real value remains unexploited. Big Pharma, in part inhibited by habit and current infrastructure, has not moved aggressively in the new direction-but the jumpstart model now dominates small-company strategies and will increasingly translate into the rest of the industry.
Roche's October 2003 in-licensing of Ipsen's Phase I GLP-1 analog buys the Swiss group an initial stake in the fast-growing diabetes market. Most established diabetes players already have a compound in this class, but the partners hope that Ipsen's expertise in peptide delivery will set this program apart from competitors'. As the second licensing agreement between Roche and Ipsen in less than a year, the deal further validates Ipsen's pipeline, and suggests that Roche's carefully-managed partnership strategy continues to encourage repeat business.
Biovitrum's record-breaking deal with Amgen--the largest licensing transaction by a European Biotech player to date-secures for Biovitrum the financial and strategic means to help it become a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company. The deal is also strategically important to Amgen, giving the company a way into the primary care segment. But the price and risk are high: there's no clinical proof of efficacy on the compound and there's no competitive compound on the market, or even in late-stage clinical trials, proving the value of the target. Thus the broader implication for the industry: as the costs of late-stage licensing become prohibitive-and the compounds themselves unavailable-in-licensers are increasingly looking to earlier-stage products to bolster their pipelines, with deal prices, and risks, rising correspondingly.
- Medical Devices
- Drug Delivery