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This week’s roundup includes various high-level appointments by companies including Vencerx Therapeutics, which has elected a new CEO, Shield Therapeutics, Crescendo Biologics, Pluristem Therapeutics, Sarepta Therapeutics and Verona Pharma.
Amidst a slew of disappointing IPOs, the moderate success of Genomic Health's IPO signals investor interest in a new diagnostics model: a combination product/service business -- technologically agnostic -- focused on coming up with an answer to a specific yes/no question that will either lead to or discourage an expensive therapy by a specialty physician audience. Several other start-ups are following the same model.
An example of the looming power of synthetic biology, one of its first start-ups, Codon Devices, is providing researchers with hundreds of specified protein variants using automated, microarray-based fabrication methods. Its platform could help address pharma's productivity problem by decreasing the size of a discovery pipeline and shrinking the development timeline, and position the company to negotiate downstream payments for its efforts based on the success of clients' development programs.
Lilly sees its own credibility problem, and the industry's, as a major financial challenge--compromising approvals, marketing claims and pricing. It also contends its solution, providing far more information about its products through its marketing and R&D organizations, provides a solution for the industry as a whole. But as it's been rolled out so far, the strategy will disproportionately benefit Lilly.