Monday, October 15, 2007

While You Were Considering the Alternatives

"When you come to the fork in the road, take it."

We hope the weekend gave you a chance to look in on the news of the day, Strategic Alternatives: Biogen Idec edition. We saw it coming (and said so here last Thursday). Late on Friday Biogen Idec confirmed that it is up for sale, having received offers from both strategic and financial buyers (the latter being Carl Icahn). We've noted the folly of buying Biogen for its current products, since any acquirer would have to share Rituxan with Genentech and since Elan has a change-in-control right to buy Tysabri (and the Irish drugmaker has brought in Lehman Bros. to help decide what to do with Tysabri in the event of a sale). But beyond a beef-up in biologics, such a move--likely to cost at least $30 billion--would help a primary-care acquirer to radically shift from primary care drugs into specialist marketing, an expensive kind of reality-show makeover for Big Pharma.

But what else happened this weekend?

  • A team of scientists at Stanford University and elsewhere have published preliminary bu promising results of a new Alzheimer's diagnostic. The New York Times reports on the Nature Medicine article. Satoris is the company that aims to commercialize the test.

  • News out of ECTRIMS in Prague: Bayer and Genzyme's good-news-bad-news Phase II results for Campath in multiple sclerosis. A Phase III is in progress.

  • Reformulation specialist Orexo is buying Swedish R&D co Biolipox for SEK 856 million ($133 million). "The acquisition will create an innovative specialty pharma company [there's that term again!] with a broad product pipeline, global partnerships with major financial potential, and established sales channels" says a statement.

  • Second prize, two weeks in Philadelphia! Glaxo considers CEO-also-rans for its board, says the Financial Times.

  • The FT also interviews Sanofi-Aventis CEO Gerard Le Fur. What do we learn? Well lets just say there's a lot of color. For starters, Le Fur doesn't smoke marijuana. He prefers the Continental two-kiss to the Anglo one-smooch. And he's a rugby guy, so he probably had a very bad weekend!

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