Monthly Archives: April 2007

I’ve been asked quite a bit recently to talk about my career path. I usually begin my talks by explaining that I don’t think my path is anything to draw best practices from, and add that many of the key opportunities I was able to benefit from are no longer available, but then I encourage students to look beyond the typical academic or industrial research routes and investigate the wide diversity of other possibilities.

With the end of the school year upon us and new batches of students gearing up to enter new programs while others take their first steps into the workforce, I’d like to expand the discussion. Email me or submit your career story. Are you in the biotechnology industry, or in an adjacent industry interacting with the biotechnology industry? Did you start with an education in science, or did you find another path to biotechnology? What attracted you to biotechnology? Where do you see the future taking you?

I previously posted how price controls and compulsory licensing give buyers more power … for a price and Abbott’s spat with Thailand, where they threatened to stop offering any new drugs in the country as a reaction to price controls.

The latest developments, however, show that pharma companies do not have the upper hand. Abbott’s CEO has offered to slash the price of Kaletra if the Thais will agree not to allow the sale of generics and Brazil is now demanding that Merck lower the price for its HIV drug Efavirenz to what it is being sold in Thailand.

In response to Thailand’s decision to issue compulsory licenses for Kaletra and for Plavix, effectively bypassing their patents by purchasing generic versions from India, Abbott has responded by redusing to launch any new drugs in Thailand.

As I discussed in an earlier post, price controls and compulsory licensing give buyers more power … for a price. This places many countries in a catch-22 situation where they do not have the resources to pay full price for patented drugs, but if they exercise their legal rights to issue compulsory licenses (valid under TRIPS in a health crisis) they face retaliation from innovative drug companies. While Abbott’s initial stance may be a negotiation tool to compromise on a median price, the impact of losing access to innovative new medicines can be severe.

Welcome to the April 10, 2007 edition of Carnival of Biotechnology.

Finance and business development

On Pharma presents a report that tens of thousands of pharma sales reps are suing current and former employers for overtime – $1 billion in settlements could be at stake.

H.S. Ayoub presents The Biotech Industry: 30 Years of Failure posted at BioHealth Investor.

H.S. Ayoub presents Biotechs Ahead of Pharmas after All? posted at BioHealth Investor.

Bloomberg reports that biotechnology companies can’t find enough scientists to hire, threatening to slow one of the industries bolstering U.S. job growth.

In the pipeline has a cautionary post about Amgen’s attempt to expand the indications of Epogen, resulting in new warning labels on drug packaging and potential charges that it has recklessly endangered patients’ lives.


H.S. Ayoub presents Bruker BioSciences: Earnings Growing, Insiders Buying posted at BioHealth Investor.


biologyfool presents Micro RNAs: The Last Frontier of Medicine? posted at Baby Biotechs.

Stem Cells

Some interesting developments in stem cells.

First, Venture Beat asks, Is Big Pharma tiptoeing into embryonic stem cells?.

Then, the California Biotech Law Blog and Patent Baristas present the fall of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s stem cell patent claims.

That concludes this edition.
For more information, see the Carnival of Biotechnology Homepage, or submit a link for the next edition. Interested in hosting a future Carnival of Biotechnology? Let me know.

Following up on the success of “Building Biotechnology” (, I’m in the late stages of assembling a more advanced follow-up book featuring articles from industry insiders with deep experience.

Join a dozen other industry insiders writing about topics in:

– Business Planning
– Funding
– Valuation
– Intellectual Property
– Licensing and technology transfer
– Public Relations

Further details available upon request. If you are interested, please respond using the contact form.

Courtesy of

Drug Patent Expirations in April 2007
*Drugs may be covered by more than one patent

Tradename Applicant Generic Name Patent Number Patent Expiration
AMBIEN Sanofi Aventis Us zolpidem tartrate 4,382,938 APR 21,2007
AMBIEN CR Sanofi Aventis Us zolpidem tartrate 4,382,938 APR 21,2007
BIDIL Nitromed hydralazine hydrochloride; isosorbide dinitrate 4,868,179 APR 22,2007
DEPAKOTE ER Abbott divalproex sodium 4,913,906 APR 03,2007
ELOCON Schering mometasone furoate 4,808,610 APR 02,2007
GLYNASE Pharmacia And Upjohn glyburide 4,916,163 APR 10,2007
INSPRA Gd Searle Llc eplerenone 4,559,332 APR 09,2007
NEXIUM Astrazeneca esomeprazole magnesium 4,738,974 APR 19,2007
PHOSLO Fresenius Medcl calcium acetate 4,870,105 APR 07,2007
PHOSLO GELCAPS Fresenius Medcl calcium acetate 4,870,105 APR 07,2007
VISUDYNE Qlt verteporfin 4,920,143 APR 24,2007
VOLTAREN Novartis diclofenac sodium 4,829,088 APR 14,2007

Courtesy of

Genentech is investing $140mm in a new biologic manufacturing plant in Singapore. The first commercial-scale microbial fermentation plant in Singapore, and a significant International investment by US-based Genentech. This is the latest of a number of international manufacturing and R&D centers being located in Singapore, and is a sign of the growing trend of biotechnology operations being globally distributed in specialized centers with favorable economics, worker, or other resource availability.

In a related post, David Rosen reports that Indian trade possibilities boggle the mind while on an Illinois trade mission to India.