Roulston Research Pharma and Biotech Conference Call with Former Biogen and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Executives

April 25, 2013

Roulston Research recently held their Pharma and Biotech Conference Call on April 22nd with Susan Nemetz and Christof Marré. Susan Nemetz is President of The Nemetz Group LLC, Former Vice President of Commercial Strategy at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and Former EVP of Cardiovascular at DuPont. Susan provides over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Christof Marré is President of CMH Consulting LLC, Former Vice President for Neurology Marketing at Biogen Idec and Former Marketing Director of Bristol-Myers Squibb. While the pharmaceutical industry is continuing to change and evolving unexpected ways, the presenters remain optimistic about what the future holds, despite some bumps along the way. Some of the majors forces identified to be driving and affecting the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry includes unsustainable growth in spending, healthcare system performance that is poorly correlated with cost, and payments and delivery model that incentives volume over outcome. Their optimism comes from the thinking that issues being addressed, with respects to healthcare would ultimately have been on the table despite changes in the law (i.e. Obamacare). Many of the primary drivers and issues of the healthcare industry are market driven, and not necessary government policy driven, including the integration of healthcare providers through joint ventures and mergers & acquisitions, new models of paying for care and incentive physicians, and new requirements to demonstrate the value of their offerings, which are somewhat outside of what the government is mandating.

Some of the major trends highlighted during the call include the path to generic drugs for manufactures, the current cycle of innovation, reimbursement picture for diabetes/insulin therapies, big pharma newly found interest in niche disease markets where patients are few, and unique pricing model within the generic drug and niche market. Niche markets, explained by the presenters are drug offering to diseases that effect only a minimum number of patients and can range around 10 to 25,000 patients. The growth of rare diseases, primarily in oncology and autoimmune seem to have caught the attention of big pharma partly due to the patent cliff and are pitting them against traditional players, which tend to usually be biotech firms, such as Genzyme. Genzyme was started with a successful business model around rare diseases with the idea that there is a market even if the market only consist of 10 000 patients, charging a price premium above the usual. The presenters makes the argument that 30 to 40% of big pharma revenue are going to narrow in the near future requiring pharmaceutical companies to find new ways to generate revenue; in turn, leading to greater competition in the rare disease market. A good example used is Pfizer new drug that competes directly with Genzyne in the rare disease space. When looking at government policies, the  FDA has in recent years introduced the Pharmaceutical Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which include more retime communication with sponsors of various drug packagers to make sure the packages their putting together is designed in the most effective way and only time will tell if this strategy pans out. Companies that are covered and not mentioned above include GlaxoKlineSmith, Biomeridian, Biogen Idec, Allergen, Shire, and more. If you are interested in listening to the podcast from the event or engaging Christof or Susan in a 1 on 1 discussion, please contact info@roulstonresearch.com.

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