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Pfizer

“Patent Expirations Will Stabilize the Pharmaceutical Industry.”

I must believe it, because I’m quoted in the St. Louis Observer as having said it!

The reporter did a good job of capturing what I meant, quoting me as saying “the industry will be more diverse, with a more stable, though smaller, revenue base spread among many more products.”

To expand, I think that the loss of patents on some of the larger brands will mean that the pharmaceutical industry will rely on a larger number of smaller-market products for the lion’s share of its revenues. The loss of marketing exclusivity on drugs like Lipitor, Nexium, and Plavix will mean that drug companies will need to derive their revenues from a greater number of products. While this might be bad for Pfizer, Astrazeneca, and Sanofi Aventis, the overall result should be a healthier, less volatile, pharmaceutical industry.

In these videos Pfizer’s Vice President and Global Head of Molecular Medicine, Aidan Power, talk about a future where everyone’s genome is sequenced and drug prescriptions are based on your genetic makeup, and argues that personalized medicine will be the defining paradigm for discovering and developing drugs of the future.

To put these videos into context, consider the recent report which found  that a majority of patients receiving Herceptin had not been tested for HER-2 overexpression — Herceptin is a targeted drug intended primarily for patients overexpressing HER-2. The apparently common prescription of Herceptin independent of it’s diagnostic test suggests that the practice of medicine needs to adapt to keep pace with scientific advance.

Vice President and Global Head of Molecular Medicine

I’ve been waiting to write up the Exubera story for the next edition of Building Biotechnology, and the story just keeps getting better.

Exubera is was Pfizer’s innovative answer to the diabetes drug market. The market is so saturated with competitive products, that the only way to capture significant market share is to innovate. Either produce a better drug — difficult, unless you can think of something better than resolving an insulin deficiency by administering insulin! — or improve on current delivery methods. Answering the second challenge, Pfizer developed an inhalable version of insulin. This drug promised to eliminate the need for injections or implantable dosage systems.

Early responses were positive (Washington Post and NPR), but in what is being painted as a marketing catastrophe