Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Calling All Large PhRMA

As we begin to look towards 2013, I thought this would be a good time to reach out to a number of neglected but large pharmaceutical companies.  I’m talking about Lilly, Abbott, BMS, Roche, and others who do not have ongoing research in the antibiotic space. If my memory serves, Roche was the first of the large pharmaceutical companies to abandon the area way back in 1999.  They were closely followed by Lilly and BMS.  Abbott gave up a few years later. J&J and Pfizer were more recent departures – but hey – its not too late to admit you made a mistake.  Just look at Sanofi-Aventis.  Sanofi got back in shortly after they had spun everything out to Novexel.

These companies have been gone from the area for so long, they probably do not have the internal expertise to even follow current developments.  But I am addressing this blog to help them see clearly.  THIS IS THE TIME! Global resistance is rising and, in parallel so is the medical need for new antibiotics.  With medical need comes market opportunities.  Emerging economies are sustaining dollar volume growth in the antibiotic space and the world’s population has not started to shrink yet – so there are increasing numbers of patients in need of new antibiotics. The world economy, in spite of our global recession, provides a growing number of patients that can afford to pay for new antibiotics and that prefer branded products over home grown generics. 

Of course, without a regulatory path forward, there is no way to enter this market.  But hold the phone!  There already are feasible regulatory paths in Europe and, believe it or not, the FDA will find a way.  Not only that, but on both sides of the Atlantic, pathways for the rapid (and less costly) development of antibiotics to fill the most desperate medical needs already exist or are coming on line quickly. 

In spite of the last advisory committee meeting where the FDA sat on their hands and covered their mouths and ears, I know that they will get there. Besides, by the time you build up a new antibiotic research effort, the FDA will have caught up to you.

Antibiotic discovery remains hard.  But somehow a fair number of small biotechs have been able to find a way forward.  Check out Polyphor, Tetraphase, Nabriva, Durata, Cempra and Trius.  Look at what happened with Novexel and avibactam. If they can figure this out – so can you!

And, for those of you who are interested in speaking about this opportunity, I am offering a free (except for expenses) consultation.  This comes with no strings attached since I am no longer accepting any new clients. I may not be easy to find since my website will go down on December 31 – but I figure you will find a way . . .

Yours truly – the pessimistic optimist – or is it the optimistic pessimist?


  1. The often cited reason for abandoning antibiotics is that the most lucrative drugs treat chronic conditions. The chronic condition market can be leveraged with advertising mass media. Antibiotics are not compatible with companies that are oriented as such. Perhaps the anticancer drug companies are more compatible with antibiotics. What do you think?

    Happy holidays and my appreciation for the work you do in this blog.

  2. Hi Mark - thanks for your comment. I would love to see antibiotics valued like oncology drugs - and I see no reason why that could not happen given the "right" data (like superiority for otherwise untreatable infections). But it seems more a question of what society values first and the pharmaceutical companies would then follow . . . .

    Have a great holiday - Best