Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has wagered on two preclinical programs for its growing business in ophthalmology drugs. The biotech heavyweight has forked over $20 million upfront and promised up to $45 million in milestones to its major partner Sanofi for full rights to the pair of antibody programs for use against eye diseases.
What's a birth-control drug maker to do when its pills start to flag? Turn to a device instead. That's the strategy Bayer is using to bolster its contraceptives business, with plans to spend $1.1 billion in cash to buy California-based Conceptus and its Essure birth-control product.
Bayer AG will snatch up California birth control device maker Conceptus for a $1.1 billion, a move that helps the German maker of drugs and chemicals add to its women's health products. Investors reacted strongly, driving the Conceptus's stock up more than 19% to nearly $31, in late morning trading on April 29.
Poor Bayer HealthCare. Its new drugs and modest sales growth couldn't make up for lagging sales and soaring costs at Bayer's plastics business. Announcing its first-quarter results, Bayer Group understandably leaned on its healthcare unit's strengths, but headlines focused on the German company's overall disappointments: profits up only 0.4%, sales up just 2.1%, both below analyst expectations.
After taking a $500 million charge against 2012 earnings for Yaz and Yasmin-related litigation, Bayer has lost its patent fight with three generics makers intent on selling their own copycats.
Being the largest company by any number of measures--revenues, earnings, those kinds of yardsticks--is a good thing. Being the largest by number of employees is trickier, unless yours is also the largest by those other measures. As we have seen time and again in recent years in the pharma industry, having lots of employees and falling revenues is a formula that leads to layoffs. As a whole, the top 10 companies had fewer employees at the end of 2012 than at the end of 2011. Read the report >>
Blood test versus a tumor biopsy: Which reveals more gene mutations in the diagnostics and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer? New research from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston points very much to the former.
In the annals of Big Pharma, 2012 was expected to be the year of all patent-cliff years, with more than a dozen patent expirations. The biggest blockbuster lost patent protection in 2011--Pfizer's Lipitor--but in 2012, a whole list of big sellers would drop. Even the Lipitor damage would hit then, because its patent expired only one month before 2011 ended.
A flurry of regulatory decisions around the world delivered a big new European approval for Bayer's Xarelto, an FDA nod for Novartis' new antibiotic for cystic fibrosis patients, and a Japanese clearance for Roche's subcutaneous formulation of Actemra.
The logistics of getting drugs delivered in underdeveloped countries can be tricky. Many companies turn to partners with the expertise that can help them navigate the import laws and distribution obstacles that those countries present.