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News in brief, March 14, 2007

The latest news in brief

Marketing news

Rankings of pharmaís sales and marketing effectiveness in US revealed
An analysis conducted by US pharmaceutical market research firm TargetRx has revealed the rankings of pharmaceutical companies regarding the quality of their sales and marketing campaigns to primary-care doctors in the US. Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) came out on top, while Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) topped the list of marketing effectiveness to specialists. The analysis implemented TargetRx's proprietary database to measure how effective each company's sales force was, as well as the marketing supporting it received. The sales and marketing quality analysis was based on a 2006 survey of more than 100,000 doctors about their interactions with drug-company sales reps. Data was collected for more than 100 drug brands in a diverse range of treatment areas. The analysis did not include all brands for each company, but tracked from two to 14 brands per company. Merck & Co ranked 11th out of 16 for quality of sales and marketing campaigns to primary-care doctors, but came in last in the quality of its sales and marketing to specialists. To see the entire ranking lists for both conditions, click on the link: http://www.targetrx.com/press_room/press_rel16.html

Dermick website launched
French pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventisí Dermik Laboratories unit has launched a new US website, AgingWithBeauty.com, that offers consumers information about the firmís physician-administered anti-aging dermatological treatments, as well as information about the pros and cons of other treatments and procedures, such as resurfacing and surgery. The site also explains the underlying causes of facial aging and offers a glossary and a list of useful links, including ones intended to help consumers find a qualified doctor to administer Dermik treatments. Visitors can also sign up to receive e-mailed news alerts. A recent consumer survey conducted by the American Society for Plastic Surgeons found that only 22 per cent of respondents were very or extremely familiar with available treatment options, while 78 per cent had less familiarity with physician-administered treatments, according to Dermik.

Yet more marketing fines for J&J
US pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), has received more subpoenas from Federal prosecutors, as part of an investigation into marketing practices for three of its drugs. The subpoenas were issued by US law firms in Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco and demand information regarding J&Jís supervision of Scios and two other subsidiaries, which dealt with the companyís schizophrenia drug, Risperdal (risperidone), the epilepsy treatment, Topamax (toperamate), and cardiac drug, Natrecor (nesiritide). Scios was accused of encouraging doctors to use Natrecor in outpatient clinics, for which the FDA had not given approval. Also off-label marketing of Topomax by J&J subsidiary Ortho-McNeil came under federal scrutiny. Lastly, according to an SEC filing, US Federal prosecutors sought J&Jís cooperation in a grand jury investigation in 2006. State and Federal prosecutors have also been examining the Risperdal marketing practices of J&Jís Janssen unit since 2004. The investigations looked at adverse reactions, alleged off-label promotion and possible company payments to doctors in the course of sales activities and clinical trials. J&J failed to disclose the reason for the inquiry, however. In FY06, Risperdal was J&Jís top drug, with sales of more than USD 4bn, while Topamax racked up USD 2bn.

Survey reveals GPs want QOF updated alongside JBS2 guidelines
Results from a UK survey conducted by Doctors.net.uk reveal that 66 per cent of GPs want the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) targets updated, in line with the Joint British Societiesí Guidelines on the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Clinical Practice (JBS2). The JBS2 guidelines recommend lower cholesterol targets for people with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) and those at high risk of developing symptomatic atherosclerotic disease. The guidelines call for less than four mmol/l for total cholesterol (TC) and less than 2 mmol/l for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)), compared with the targets recommended by the QOF, which are less than five mmol/l for TC. The survey, which was commissioned by Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD) and Schering-Plough UK (S-P UK), showed that more than half of the GPs surveyed believed that all at-risk patients should be treated to the JBS2 targets. Over 90 per cent of GPs who participated in the survey felt that people with diabetes and those who have experienced a previous cardiovascular event would particularly benefit from a reduction in TC to below four mmol/l. Eighty-eight per cent of the surveyed GPs were aware of the recommendations outlined by the JBS2, with 96 per cent of the group implementing them in some form within clinical practice. In the UK, MSD markets Zocor (simvastatin), while Schering-Plough markets its and Merck & Coís double-fixed-dose combination cholesterol treatment Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe), the third best-selling cholesterol-lowering product. Both products are among the top prescribed statins in the UK.

Company and mergers & acquisitions news

Takeda to acquire Paradigm Therapeutics
Japanís largest pharmaceutical company, Takeda has revealed that it will acquire UK-based drug development firm, Paradigm Therapeutics. The agreement was signed on 12 March 2007, with Paradigm shareholders advised by UK-based biotech and healthcare venture capital company, Avlar BioVentures. Financial terms were not disclosed at the time of writing. Subject to completion, which is expected within the next two weeks, Paradigm will become a subsidiary of Takeda Europe Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda. Paradigm will also be renamed Takeda Cambridge, while Paradigm's subsidiary in Singapore will be renamed Takeda Singapore. Paradigm was spun off from the University of Cambridge in 1999 and specialises in genetic engineering and in vivo pharmacology. Paradigm has a pipeline of novel drug discovery targets and compounds in key areas of unmet medical need including pain, CNS disorders, prostate and breast cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. Paradigm's technologies and researchers will be integrated into Takeda and will help to accelerate multiple scientific processes, such as the validation of drug targets derived from genomic research, the creation of animal models reflecting the human pathologic conditions and the optimisation of drug candidates.

Acambis plans restructuring
US biotechnology vaccine group, Acambis, is carrying out a restructuring programme to cut costs by a fifth. Around 40 jobs will be cut, mainly in the US, and is expected to save USD 14m (EUR 10.6m) a year. Gordon Cameron, CEO for the past three years, will hand over to Ian Garland on 1 June 2007. Garland was previously finance director of Arrow Therapeutics, which was bought by AstraZeneca (AZ) last month for USD 150m. Acambisí finance director, David Lawrence, is also leaving, to be replaced by Elizabeth Brown, vice-president of financial management. Acambisí shares dropped after it lost a USD 1bn (EUR 758m) contract to supply smallpox vaccine to the US government last year. Peter Fellner, chairman of Acambis, said the company would consider purchasing companies in the tens of millions of sterling range, but would not rule out a deal worth more than USD 200m (EUR 151.7m).

Schering-Plough buys Organon BioSciences for USD 14.4bn
US pharmaceutical firm, Schering-Plough (S-P), has revealed it will buy the pharmaceuticals business of Dutch chemicals firm Akzo Nobel for USD 14.4bn (EUR 11bn). The purchase, if approved, gives S-P a pipeline of women's health products and augments its animal health business and late-stage pipeline. The approximate USD 4.9bn (EUR 3.7bn) in revenue from Organon BioSciences would increase S-Pís sales by around 50 per cent. S-P said the acquisition will be financed through a mix of cash, debt and equity. New debt is expected to total USD 6bn (EUR 4.6bn) to USD 8bn (EUR 6.1bn).  Analysts welcomed S-Pís move to reduce dependence on its waning cholesterol franchise, but were worried by the increased debt and one key late-stage product, asenapine. Pfizer returned the rights to the schizophrenia and bipolar compound in 2006, after it did not impress in clinical trials. Akzo's shares rose 19 per cent to rest at EUR 55.01 in Amsterdam trading, while S-P shares jumped USD 0.10 to close at USD 23.95 on the New York Stock Exchange. According to S-P, the transaction, which should close by the end of 2007, should add about USD 0.10 per share to first year earnings after costs and adjustments, as well as achieving USD 500m (EUR 380.1m) over three years. The deal could result in some job cuts, however. Organon BioSciences employs 19,000 people, while S-P employs 33,500.

Adventis acquires LeapFrog Medical
UK multi-media marketing and advertising agency, Adventis Group, has acquired LeapFrog Medical Communications, a specialist medical education agency, in a move to create one of the UKís largest integrated healthcare agencies for a total maximum consideration of GBP 2.7m (USD 5.2m/ EUR 3.9m). The new entity will offer a complete range of integrated marketing services, from medical education to advertising and new media. Adventis, which floated on AIM in July 2004, has already stated its intention to be a top three pharmaceutical industry service provider. With an existing healthcare operation through Affiniti UK and Roundhouse HealthAd, the addition of medical education was the next logical step, says the firm. Charles Phillpot, CEO of Adventis, said: "We are very much aware that our clients require a blended offering for optimum reach of their target markets. LeapFrog brings with them an exceptionally well tailored medical education service as their distinguished client list, including GSK, Pfizer, MSD, Roche and Novartis, bears testimony." Tim Schofield and Gail Rowe, principal Directors of LeapFrog, added: "We see joining forces with two top creative agencies as a unique way of adding value to our clients. Being able to address their various needs within one group will be a tremendous bonus for us all."

Publicis buys Pharmagistics
Publicis Group has acquired US-based Pharmagistics as part of its strategy to diversify its expertise. Pharmagistics is a healthcare and pharmaceutical services company specialising in sales, marketing, Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) compliance and specialty logistical services. The companyís main services include distribution of samples and literature to pharmaceutical sales forces, direct-to-practitioner marketing, and PDMA compliant sample accountability services. Pharmagistics will operate as a separate unit within the Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. However, its services will be integrated as needed with the non-personal selling communications expertise of Arista Marketing Associates and the personal selling specialisation of Publicis Selling Solutions.

Pfizer teams up with startup
US drug company, Pfizer, has entered into an agreement with a life-sciences company started four years ago by former Pharmacia researchers to discover and develop a new class of antibiotics. The company, PharmOptima, will develop antibiotics used in the treatment of infectious diseases. Pfizer has given an up-front, undisclosed cash payment and will also provide research funding, support, payments and royalties on any future product sales. PharmOptima is a pre-clinical research and discovery company focused on finding antibiotic treatments for infectious diseases. It helps pharmaceutical companies decide which compounds are going to be effective drugs and if they are going to be stable. Pfizer acquired Pharmacia in 2003.

Alliance Boots turns down private equity bid
UK chemist and drug wholesaler, Alliance Boots, has rejected a GBP 9.7bn (USD 18.7bn/ EUR 14.1m) offer from private equity group, KKR, which offered GBP 10.00 per share. Boots said this did not reflect the true value of the company. By close of trade on the London Stock Exchange, shares in the healthcare group jumped GBP 0.67, or 7.2 per cent higher at GBP 996.50 on 13 March 2007 due to the takeover bid. UK-based Alliance Boots is best known for its Boots the Chemist high-street chain. However, since its GBP 7bn merger with Alliance UniChem in 2006, the company is now also a major drugs wholesaler, with a massive 40 per cent market share. It supplies more than 125,000 pharmacies, health centres and hospitals. PMLive reported last week that Pfizer was to press ahead with a deal to make Unichem its exclusive distributor in the UK, after last ditch attempts to stop it failed. Eight wholesalers, including Phoenix Heathcare Distribution and AAH Pharmaceuticals, attempted to force an injunction against the deal, which was rejected in the UKís High Court. Unichem, the wholesale division of Alliance Boots, will become the sole supplier of Pfizerís drugs, accounting for 10 per cent of the UKís total market to pharmacists, hospitals and dispensing doctors. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is still investigating the deal after formal complaints were made by the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers, the National Pharmacy Association and the organisation which represents dispensing doctors.

SCOLR collaborates with Biocryst
US-headquartered, specialty pharmaceutical company, SCOLR Pharma, is working with US small molecule developer, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, to develop an oral formulation of peramivir using SCOLRís CDT drug delivery platform. Peramivir is being developed by BioCryst and is one of a new class of antiviral agents that inhibit influenza viral neuraminidase, an enzyme essential for the influenza virus to spread and infect its hosts. The collaboration will develop an oral delivery system for peramivir that improves bioavailability. BioCryst will share all appropriate data with SCOLR to support its development work. If successful, the companies expect to enter a license agreement which would provide for the potential commercialisation of peramivir. BioCryst recently won a USD 102.6m (EUR 77.8m), four year contract to develop the influenza neuraminidase inhibit, peramivir, for the US Department of Health and Human Services. This will treat seasonal and life-threatening influenza, including avian flu. BioCryst has started a phase II trial of an intramuscular formulation of peramivir.

Bristol-Myers Squibb expands India research operations
Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) plans to expand its research operations in India, in partnership with Biocon and Accenture. Biocon, Indiaís biggest biotechnology company, will set up a research facility in the southern Indian city of Bangalore that could be staffed by up to 400 scientists. Accenture will help manage clinical data and assist in scientific writing from offices in Bangalore and Chennai.

Drug & regulatory news

FDA approves GSKís Tykerb in combination with Xeloda
The UKís largest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), has revealed that the FDA has approved Tykerb (lapatinib), in combination with Xeloda (capecitabine), for the treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer whose tumours over-express HER2 and who have received prior therapy including an anthracycline, a taxane, and trastuzumab. It is the first targeted, once-daily oral treatment option for this patient population. Tykerb was granted Priority Review by the FDA in November 2006. Tykerb inhibits two validated targets in oncology, the kinase components of the EGFR (ErbB1) and HER2 (ErbB2) receptors, commonly associated with cancer cell proliferation and tumour growth. Tykerb is designed to interfere with discrete cellular processes or disease mechanisms prevalent in cancer and will be available in the US within two weeks and, as an oral therapy. Bank of America analysts estimate that Tykerb sales could reach nearly USD 1bn in 2011, while Sanford C Bernstein analysts believe that sales could reach USD 1.5bn in 2012.

Byetta for type 2 diabetes launched on UK market
US pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, has launched its type 2 diabetes treatment, Byetta (exenatide), on the UK POP market. Byetta is the first in a new class of type 2 diabetes treatments known as incretin mimetics, and was launched on March 14 to UK healthcare professionals at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow. Co-developed with Amylin Pharmaceuticals, exenatide was first approved by the FDA in April 2005, and in Europe by the EMEA in November 2006. Byetta mimics the actions of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone released from the gut in response to food intake by stimulating beta cells in the pancreas to produce insulin only in response to raised blood sugar. Clinical trials have shown that exenatide provided sustained HbA1c reductions over 82 weeks (mean reduction of 1.1%). Byetta 10mg twice daily was also associated with weight loss in 81 per cent of patients. Studies which compared exenatide with insulin showed that it controlled HbA1c as effectively insulin glargine and biphasic insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes failing to achieve adequate glycaemic control on metformin and/or a sulfonylurea. Exenatide posted FY06 US sales of USD 430.2m (EUR 326.3m).

Merck loses another US Vioxx lawsuit
Merck has been ordered to pay USD 20m (EUR 15.2m) to a 61 year old man who suffered a heart attack after taking its painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib) for knee pain. The jury in New Jersey found Merck had failed to provide adequate warnings about the health risks associated with Vioxx. The jury awarded USD 18m to Frederick Humeston, and a further USD 2m to his wife. This was the second case brought by Humeston after an earlier suit failed. New evidence on the dangers of Vioxx resulted in the new trial. Merck currently faces around 7,000 lawsuits related to Vioxx and experts have estimated its potential liabilities in the matter at over USD 5bn (EUR 3.8m). Vioxx was pulled from the market in September 2004 after a study found it could double the risk of heart attacks.

Osteoprorosis drug limited to over 70s
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that a drug to treat osteoporosis and prevent broken bones should be limited to women over the age of 70. NICE has advised the drug, alendronate, can be prescribed to 70 year olds who are underweight and have low bone density, which are both risk factors for broken bones. Until now drugs have been prescribed to women over 65 but due to a five year wait for NICEís recommendation, many patients have not been treated, which NICE has expressed concern at. Women over 75 with similar risk factors may be given the drug without having their bone density checked. According to The National Osteoporosis Society, alendronate costs GBP 0.27 per day (USD 0.52/ EUR 0.39), compared with the average cost of treating a broken hip of GBP 12,000 (USD 23,074/ EUR 17,495).

Swedish osteoporosis drug begins human trials
Swedish pharmaceutical company, Medivir, is beginning its first human trial with osteoporosis compound MIV-701, which has been in development over the last five years. MIV-701 inhibits enzyme cathepsin K, which not only degrades bone, but may also contribute to cartilage damage. Preclinical studies have shown that MIV-701t reduces bone degradation. Medivir will now investigate how an oral dosage form of MIV-701 is taken up and tolerated by the body. By studying biomarkers, it should also be possible to make a preliminary assessment of MIV-701ís efficacy, as well as effects on other skeletal disorders, such as arthritis and bone cancers. For the human trial, the drug will be administered in single, escalating doses, and in a later stage the trial subjects are treated with multiple doses during a more protracted period. Medivir says that there is no drug available to patients with the same mechanism of action as MIV-701. Global sales of osteoporosis drugs are expected to amount to nearly EUR 8.6bn in 2008.

Northwick Park six to sue over TGN1412 drug trial
Lawyers working on behalf of the six men injured by the 2006 drug trial testing of multiple sclerosis, leukaemia and rheumatoid arthritis compound, TGN1412, may sue US-headquartered contract research organisation (CRO), Parexel, if the firm does not offer an adequate compensation deal. The phase I trials were conducted by Parexel for the German biotech company, TeGenero. The six men who were dosed with the monoclonal antibody experienced severe and systemic adverse reactions and were admitted to intensive care. Lawyers for four of the six injured men are to begin legal proceedings, should talks break down. Now TeGenero no longer exists as a going concern, Parexel is now the only legal target. Even though a UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) investigation cleared Parexel, there remain a number of issues surrounding the trial itself and the handling of the situation following the adverse reactions. The main legal case against Parexel is its involvement in the trial design, the issue of drug dosing timings and how staff dealt with the drug reactions. Lawyers also claim that Parexel should have informed the Northwick Park hospital of the drug type it was testing long before the trials had started.

Amgen & J&J drugs to carry black-box warning
The FDA has requested a black box warning for the class of drugs known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, including Amgen's blockbusters Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) and Epogen (epoetin alfa). Johnson & Johnson will also be obliged to update safety information on its erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) drug Procrit (epoetin alfa). ESAs are approved to treat anaemia in patients with chronic kidney failure, and in cancer patients with anaemia caused by chemotherapy. The warnings come on the back of a series of recent studies have cast doubt on the safety of these medicines, prompting the FDA to demand the strongest type of warning for a prescription drug, a black box warning. Updated information for patients in the revised label notes that "patients should be informed of the increased risks of mortality, serious cardiovascular events, thromboembolic events and tumour progression when used in off-label dose regimens or populations," according to the FDA. Doctors are advised in the boxed warning to use the lowest dose of ESAs that will avoid the need for red blood cell transfusions, and not to exceed 12 g/dL. The FDA will review the safety and efficacy of ESAs at an upcoming meeting.

NICE rejects Rocheís Tarceva lung cancer treatment
T
he UKís National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has rejected Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Roche's once daily lung cancer ìsmart drugî treatment, Tarceva (erlotinib). NICE said the treatment was of limited use and too expensive for the NHS. The final determination from NICE is in line with a preliminary decision in November 2006. The ruling leaves England and Wales at odds with Scotland, where the product was recommended for use in 2006. NICE has faced controversy over access to expensive modern cancer treatments, following its rejection of cancer drug, Herceptin (trastuzumab), another Roche product. Roche attacked the latest NICE action as "perverse and flawed" and said it would appeal, arguing the evidence had not been assessed fairly or appropriately. NICE CEO, Andrew Dillon, however, said the data showed prescribing Tarceva was not an effective use of NHS resources, compared with sanofi-aventis' Taxotere (docetaxel) or best supportive care. He acknowledged, however, that evidence on Tarceva was still emerging and added that the decision would be reviewed in February 2008. He also called for further research to see if certain sub-groups of patients would benefit more from the drug. Tarceva was licensed and launched in Britain in 2005 at a monthly treatment cost of GBP 1,631 (USD 3,153/ EUR 2,379).

Off-label use common in US paediatric hospitals
According to a US study examining off-label use in the paediatric setting, almost 80 per cent of children in hospitals are prescribed drugs approved only for use in adults, according to a study examining off-label use in the paediatric setting. The study, which appears in the March 2007 issue of the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, examined information from 2004 from the Paediatric Health Information Systems database, which contains patient records from 31 major US paediatric hospitals. Researchers focused on 90 frequently administered drugs or those recommended for further paediatric study by the FDA. The main concern was that since these drugs have not been formally studied in children, the risks and benefits in this patient population are unknown. The FDA said it was aware of the off-label use of drugs in children and has been working to address the issue and added that 118 drugs have now been approved for use in children and adolescents. The FDA said it was working with the National Institutes of Health to conduct paediatric studies for older drugs. Of the 355,000 children treated in the hospitals in 2004, almost 300,000, or 79 per cent, received at least one drug off-label, usually central or autonomic nervous system agents, nutrients and gastrointestinal agents. Children who were more likely to receive off-label drugs were those undergoing surgery, or with severe illness. Also, children who died in the hospital were more likely to have received drugs off-label

Pfizer withdraws Zyvox advertising
Pfizer has been ordered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to withdraw an advertisement making potentially misleading claims about Zyvox (linezolid), an antibiotic. The advertisement in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) claimed that Zyvox has superior cure rates compared to products containing the active ingredient vancomycin. Pfizer has been in discussions with the MHRA over concerns relating to the efficacy and safety of Zyvox, compared with vancomycin in a clinical trial in patients with catheter-related infections. Pfizer has suspended all advertising containing this claim and wrote to healthcare professionals this week to inform them about new safety restrictions on the use of Zyvox. Pfizer was sent a warning letter by the US FDA in July 2005, regarding Zyvox advertising which claimed it was superior to vancomycin.

People news

Globalpharma appoints new general manager
Globalpharma, a subsidiary of Dubai Investments, has announced the appointment of Syed Jamil Akhtar to the role of general manager. Akhtar brings 36 years of professional experience in the Middle East pharmaceutical industry, and proven marketing skills having successfully guided other top companies in various market segments in the region. Akhtar joins Globalpharma after serving as marketing director with Merck Sharp & Dohme Saudi Arabia. From 1994 to 1998, Akhtar worked as marketing manager for Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries & Medical Appliances (SPIMACO). In 1971, Akhtar started his pharmaceutical career when he joined Merck Sharp & Dohme Pakistan as a medical representative, and was subsequently appointed product manager, marketing planning manager and marketing director. Globalpharma has been actively seeking out new opportunities to expand its product portfolio and establish partnerships with global pharmaceutical companies, particularly European firms looking to expand to the UAE and GCC healthcare markets. Dubai Investments holds 65 per cent equity in Globalpharma, while 35 per cent equity rests with Indian healthcare company, Kopran, which also provides technology transfer to the company for its manufacturing facility built at a cost of approximately USD 20m (EUR 15.2m).

New president of R&D at Ranbaxy
Indiaís largest pharmaceutical company, Ranbaxy Laboratories, has hired Dr Himadri Sen as President of R&D (Generics & NDDS), effective from 11 Mar 2007. Dr Sen has worked with Indian and global pharmaceutical companies in the areas of pharmaceutical research, technology development and transfer, plant support activities and regulatory affairs. He has been associated in various capacities with the Manchester Area Health Authority, St. Mary's Hospital and International Development Laboratories, Imperial Chemical Industries, Lupin and Ranbaxy Labs. Dr Sen is credited with the development and approval of more than 70 INDs, NDAs and ANDAs for the US and EU markets. He has been responsible for development and commercialisation of 60 OCRS, including the licensing of two products to companies in the US. Earlier in 2007, Ranbaxy announced a series of organisational steps to meet its aggressive growth plan to achieve a turnover of USD 5bn (EUR 3.8bn) by 2012.

Novo Nordisk hires new CMO
Danish pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk, has hired Dr Alan C Moses as its new Chief Medical Officer for North America. Moses, who has been with Novo Nordisk since 2004, will provide strategic input and oversight into the company's breakthrough diabetes and biopharmaceutical clinical research and medical affairs. He will also work closely with senior colleagues in Denmark on global Novo Nordisk R&D programmes in diabetes. Dr Moses was formerly senior vice-president and Chief Medical Officer at the Joslin Diabetes Centre in Boston, US, and joined Novo Nordisk in 2004 as associate vice-president of medical affairs. Prior to joining Novo Nordisk, Moses spent 23 years at Harvard Medical School affiliated institutions where he rose to the rank of Professor of Medicine. He has written over 100 peer-reviewed articles on the treatment of diabetes and has been recognised both domestically and nationally for his research into diabetes and growth factors.

Biotech news

Increased biotech funding augments US drug discovery CRO market
A Frost & Sullivan report has revealed that the US market for drug discovery contract research organisation (CRO) markets earned revenues of USD 7.4bn in 2006 and could reach USD 19.4bn in 2013. According to the report, the CRO market "presents a mix of numerous challenges and opportunities and is likely to provide pharmaceutical and biotechnology market participants the opportunity to achieve their strategic objectives by offering services which seek to reduce cost and time-to-market drug candidates". A current trend in the market is for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to outsource R&D to CROs due to the lack of internal expertise, infrastructure, mounting costs of drug development, and stringent regulatory guidelines. Biotechnology also companies have limited investments in development infrastructure, compared with their pharmaceutical counterparts, which has resulted in greater business volumes for CROs in this market. Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Barath Shankar said: "The increase in globalisation of trials is likely to result in several CROs expanding across geographical boundaries and augmenting their capacity to cater to this opportunity. As the market continues to enlarge and inorganic growth emerges as a critical component of this expansion, the trend of deepening focus on core expertise is becoming crucial. CROs can benefit from offering cost-effective services to retain companies likely to change loyalties based on lower cost benefit."

Diary news

Roundhouse to present buzz marketing at BSAVA
Adventis Healthcare subsidiary, Roundhouse HealthAd, is presenting examples of its buzz marketing campaigns at the 50th British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress National Indoor Arena and International Convention Centre, Birmingham, from the 12 to 14 April 2007. Roundhouse advises on strategy, branding and marketing communications in both the veterinary and human pharma markets. Director, Heather Maggs, who is also a lecturer on the Chartered Institute of Marketing courses, will be presenting at the conference, advising on the steps that need to be taken when planning a buzz campaign and the impact word of mouth recommendation can have on an agency's bottom line. She will also be presenting on how consumer-orientated tactics can work for professional services and help distinguish viral from guerrilla campaigns. Maggs' presentation can be downloaded by clicking on the following link, http://www.roundhouse-healthad.com/BSAVA_Link/. Sponsors of the event include Bayer Healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Pfizer.

14th March 2007

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