Now more or less recovered from the festive break, Maxine Vaccine looks forward to the creative and rewarding possibilities of partnership (strictly in the business sense).
January is the worst month of the year. Back at work, no money, not much daylight, freezing rain and the memory of a festive break that was one long hangover. More breakups happen in January than in the rest of the year put together. It’s enough to drive you to drugs – not the ones you sell, of course, because you already know how rubbish they are.
But never mind! The pharma industry is glowing with thoughts of partnership and fruitful collaboration. Valentine’s Day has come a month early. That nice Mr Cameron said that for the UK to become the world’s leading hub for life science research and development, industry and the NHS need to work ‘hand-in-glove’ to find new solutions to the world’s pressing health problems.
If you listen carefully, you can just hear a faint harmonica playing in the cold January wind, and that supernatural twelve-string guitar weaving its spell. Hand in glove... It’s like being a teenager again. But is it true? Does the sun shine out of our pipeline? Does it really all depend on how near you stand to me? (Having shared hotel lifts with too many hungover male pharma reps in the past, I devoutly hope not.)
This week, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier (I would) declared: “The future of the industry is going to be more partnerships.” He noted that the use of combination therapies for viral and other conditions made partnership between pharma companies necessary. The company intends to augment its pipeline through acquisitions, he said. “Typically, for Merck, the sweet spot has been earlier rather than later.” I was always a first-date girl myself.
Also this week, Roche CEO Severin Schwan (I also would) said the company was looking to acquire innovative products in the rapidly growing field of stratified medicine, where targeted drugs are developed alongside diagnostics that can select patients with the right genetic profile. Roche’s 2008 $3.4 billion purchase of diagnostic company Ventana “would certainly be a size, if the right opportunity came up, that we would look at,” he said. Just remember to send a photo to my phone.
The good life is out there somewhere, so stay on my arm you little pharma... but we know how that song ends. And if the Queen is dead, you can’t expect much in the way of royalties. Still, keep in touch. And have a good year.
Note: the views of Maxine Vaccine are not necessarily those of Pharmaceutical Field.