Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Quick Update -- On Cancer "Collabos": Merck(s)(!) & Pfizer

My regular readership will recall that back in August of 2014, we wrote about the two known collaborations between Merck and Pfizer -- to deploy potential combo therapies, with Merck's Anti PD-1 immuno offering. Will our Merck still be enthused about the collaboration(s)? I am uncertain.

I mention those agreements again today, as I am reading reports (like the below, from Bloomberg) that Mr. Read now plans to try to skip melanoma, and leapfrog right into lung, kidney and other cancers, with some recently purchased immuno assets (candidates, really). . . now that he knows he'll never get AZ's pipeline. This does set me to wondering whether his seemingly rather desperate move. . . has any lasting merit at all. I also mention it because the German Merck (no relation!) is his partner in those efforts. This is going to get (even more) confusing. Here's the Bloomberg bit:

. . . .The market for immuno-oncology drugs, as they’re called, may be worth $40 billion a year or more a decade from now, according to Leerink Partners LLC. Last year’s abandoned attempt by Pfizer to buy AstraZeneca Plc for more than $100 billion was predicated in part on a desire for the London-based company’s cancer pipeline.

Pfizer has lagged behind competitors in turning research spending into marketable drugs, according to data from Boston Consulting Group. From 2008 to 2010, the drugmaker -- then the world’s largest -- was also the biggest spender of research and development dollars. Over that period it spent more that $10 billion a year, more than any other large pharmaceutical company, while falling only in the middle of the pack in turning that into new product sales, according to the study. . . .

Instead of skin cancers like melanoma, New York-based Pfizer will focus on malignancies of the kidney, lung, head and neck, and bladder, using its German partner’s drug, MSB0010718C, along with others from the alliance and its own labs. It will also test cancer drugs that use other immune-system mechanisms. . . .

We will keep you apprised, but personally -- I'd not bet on Ian Read, on this one.

No comments: