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Latest From Melanie Senior
Acquisitions and licensing are core to pharma and big biotech growth as pipelines thin and assets lose patent protection. Looking back at significantly sized acquisitions over just five years reveals that half of 2014’s acquisitions can already be judged as outright failures or, at best, questionable. But some lessons can be learned from dud deals.
Scientists now understand that there are multiple, bi-directional links between gut and brain. They are using this knowledge to develop new treatments for some of the most challenging chronic conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and obesity.
There is no single path toward becoming a CEO. The job requires many different skills, often concurrently: sharp analytical capabilities, strategic thinking, clear communication with multiple audiences, curiosity and perseverance. It demands strong leadership but also humility, and a willingness to acknowledge mistakes and knowledge gaps.
Founder-CEOs do not typically remain at the helm as biotechs mature. Exceptions to that rule are multiplying, though, especially in Europe as companies aim directly for Nasdaq.
Merck & Co.’s Keytruda is already elbowing its way into the top ten best-selling drugs. But it, and its expanding cohort of competitors, could be much bigger. Companies and investors are scrambling to identify the technology or technologies that can unlock checkpoint inhibitors’ potential in the 70% or more of tumors where they do not currently work. That activity is reflected across 2018’s licensing deals, M&A and financings.
This month a handful of biosimilars of the world’s top-selling drug, Humira (adalimumab), are due to launch in Europe. They will not topple the $18 billion behemoth. But they will do some damage, as Europe’s cash-strapped payers ready themselves to embrace these cheaper lookalikes.