Biopharmaceutical News Week 47 2014

Biopharmaceutical NewsWeek 47


actavis Acquired Allergan for $66 Billion

Acquisitions /Mergers/Joint-ventures

November 17, 2014 

Actavis officially acquires Allergan with $66B buyout

Actavis has agreed propose $219 per share, in cash and stock, for the acquisition of Allergan. That makes the deal worth about $66 billion, based on Actavis' closing price Friday. And it's a price Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson said in a statement that he "couldn't justify."



AstraZeneca and Sanofi present their long term expectations

AstraZeneca has announced that it expects annual sales to rise to $45B by 2023. "We have more than doubled the number of potential medicines in our late-stage pipeline since 2012 and we are on track to return to growth by 2017," says Chief Executive Pascal Soriot. The company has :

  •  14 potential new medicines in Phase 3 development or registration,
  • a potential 14 – 16 submissions
  •  8 – 10 approvals in the next two years.


Sanofi is expecting to launch 18 new drugs by 2020, a move that could boost sales by up to €30B over five years. The company expects to launch six new medicines in 2015 and another one every six months from 2016 to 2018. The presentation was heavily focusing on the diabetes/cardiovascular portfolio.


November 17, 2014 

Pfizer enters collaboration with Merck KGaA in oncology

Pfizer has agreed to pay Merck KGaA up to $2.85 billion for rights to the company’s checkpoint inhibitor and collaborate on other immuno-oncology programmes. The focus of the deal is Merck’s checkpoint inhibitor, MSB0010718C, an antibody that blocks the interaction of the programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) with its receptor. The two companies will evaluate the therapeutic potential of the antibody as a single agent and in combination with other drugs. They will also collaborate on up to 20 immuno-oncology programmes. Under the deal, Merck will receive an upfront payment of $850 million and is eligible to receive up to $2 billion in regulatory and commercial milestones.


November 18, 2014 

Clovis Oncology starts a combination cancer therapy with GlaxoSmithKline

Clovis Oncology, a California based company, and GlaxoSmithKline enter into a clinical trial collaboration to evaluate a novel combination therapy in non-small cell lung cancer. The Phase 1/2 study of Clovis' rociletinib, a mutant-selective EGFR and GSK's trametinib a MEK inhibitor, is expected to start in early 2015. The study will assess the safety and activity of the combination in patients previously treated with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.


November 19, 2014 

Novartis CEO, Joe Jimenez embraces new biotech/hi-tech model

Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez has shared his vision on the profound changes facing the healthcare industry. Speaking at the FT Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology conference in London, Mr Jimenez said we are in a "Renaissance of innovation”. As a complement to the more traditional drug development, Novartis is determined to embrace technologies such as wearables and micro-chipped pills and create a “more data-driven science-based commercial model”, he said. He referenced the group’s pact with Google which is measuring glucose levels in diabetics via a smart contact lenses. This combination of biotechnology and engineer technologies, which can be considered as “convergence technologies” will pave the way pharma companies should conduct their future business, Mr Jimenez argues, noting that firms also have to look at delivering ‘beyond-the-pill’ services. However, he noted that Novartis needs to partner in this latter area as it is outside its speciality and “we do not have to own these businesses”. He believes that monitoring technology will play a vital role towards better outcomes, and there is much work to be done in having systems that measure those outcomes.


November 20, 2014 

Spending on medicine could increase 30% by 2018

The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics forecast that the global spending on medicine will be close to $1.3 trillion in 2018, an increase of 30% over 2013. This fast growth will be driven primarily by increased:

  • drug innovation,
  • greater access to medicines,
  • an increased number of elderly patients
  • reduced impact of patent expiries

 says the study.

Almost 200 new drugs are expected to be launched in the next five years. The 21 “pharmerging” markets which currently account for 25% of expenditures will increase their spending by more than 50% by 2018. By 2018, over 80% of growth in the pharmerging markets will be attributed to non-branded medicines, including greater use of biosimilars.

China, which is already the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market, will reach spending levels of $155-$185 billion in 2018. Global spending on oncology drugs, is expected to rise from $65 billion in 2013, to around $100 billion in 2018.


Drugs at clinical stage

November 20, 2014

FDA Grants Dupilumab a Breakthrough Therapy designation for atopic dermatitis

The FDA grants Breakthrough Therapy status to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi's dupilumab for the treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. Dupilumab, which is an investigational monoclonal antibody currently in Phase 3, blocks two interleukins receptors IL-4 and IL-13.



Gates Foundation supports Ebola trials for plasma-based treatments

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting efforts to test the efficacy and the scale up production of plasma of patients who have survived Ebola infection. Attempts at the therapy with Ebola survivor’s blood aim to determine the best way to collect relevant antibodies in blood plasma via plasmapheresis. The Gates Foundation has committed $5.7 million to launch this effort.



November 14, 2014 

Bristol-Myers Squibb to build near-$1 billion biologics facility in Ireland

Bristol-Myers Squibb (B-MS) has announced its intention to construct a new biologics manufacturing facility in Cruiserath, Ireland, as part of a near $1 billion investment. B-MS said the full cost is anticipated to be “comparable to the approximately $900 million investment to construct and operationalise the company’s biologics manufacturing facility in Devens, Massachusetts”. The plant will recruit up to 400 jobs and is estimated to be operational in 2019.


Author : Jean-Claude MULLER, Special Advisor,Innovation & International Relationship (I&IR)



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