Small biotechnology companies form a key part of the biotech industry as they pursue breakthrough therapies that drive acquisitions by large firms. A January 2014 article in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News discusses how small biotech firms may be able to develop drugs for much less money than previously estimated.
The article focuses on what are called “virtual companies,” firms that exist solely to fund the development of a particular drug and that outsource all of their labor. Virtual companies avoid the overhead associated with maintaining labs and manufacturing facilities. The article uses a theoretical situation, in which a drug being developed by a virtual company is discovered in trials funded by the National Institutes of Health, and then uses numbers from a 2010 survey of drug development costs to postulate that bringing a drug to market might cost as little as $242 million. To view the full article, including a discussion of weaknesses in the previous study’s methods and reasons costs could amount to as little as half of that $242 million, visit http://bit.ly/1eUZ7yG.
In late 2013, the American Marketing Association’s DocSIG, a special-interest group catering to the needs of students pursuing PhDs, placed Smeal College of Business’ Department of Marketing second on a list ranking research productivity over the last four years. The list was compiled based on publications in AMA journals, including studies published in the Journal of Marketing Research and the Journal of Marketing. DocSIG also compiled rankings of schools based on research appearing in top journals published by organizations other than the AMA, including Marketing Science and the Journal of Consumer Research. On that list, Smeal College of Business placed 13th.
Individual Smeal faculty members made lists of top researchers as well. The school’s Irving & Irene Bard Professor of Marketing ranked eighth on the AMA-only list, and two of its assistant professors earned rankings of 19 and 26, respectively, in the same survey. Two Smeal professors also earned top-50 rankings in DocSIG’s broader report.
Worldwide, the biotechnology, biological sciences, and pharmaceuticals industry produced well in excess of $1 trillion in revenue during the calendar year 2011. Based on this figure, compound annual growth in the industry performed at a rate of 6.7 percent during the years 2007 to 2011. Overall, experts advocate an attitude of cautious optimism for the sector. Many point to years of development and positive trends in markets, modified by new challenges such as expiring patents, competition from generic products, increased government regulation, and pressures to modify pricing.
A set of historical trends and projections for the years 2010 through 2017, issued in 2013 by the international market data group Research and Markets, predicted significant growth for the biotech and bio-agriculture industries over the defined period.
Trends affecting the biotech industry on a global scale include an aging world population that will result in increased demand for health-related products and services. In a related development, the world’s people are altering their eating habits in ways that tend to produce higher rates of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart trouble. Other forces at play within the industry include expansion of government-supported health initiatives to cover more individuals, thus expanding the market; a push to step up marketing to the developing world; and rapid technological development.
Challenges to the biotechnology segment include many nations’ struggles to contain burgeoning health care costs by imposing price restrictions on manufacturers.
The year 2013 saw more than 30 biotechnology companies make initial public offerings, with more awaiting their time to go public as well. The total raised from this flurry of IPOs in the industry amounted to more than $2.5 billion, to define the most favorable IPO environment since 2000. IPOs within the 2013 general health care market performed better than those in any other segment. Even in the midst of clinical trial roadblocks, the high price of research and development, government hurdles, and other concerns, many experts foresee a bright future for investment in the industry.
Some investors in the field point to the fact that generalist funds have been regularly increasing the amount of their portfolios devoted to biotech and have also been quick to invest in IPOs in the sector, with some recent offerings oversubscribed by as much as 15 percent. In addition, biotech companies attracted renewed interest from venture capital funders in 2013. Other analysts point to a recent trend involving investor funds moving away from traditional low-growth stocks and into higher-risk segments, such as biotech, that also offer high growth potential.
Experts caution that, should enough generalist investment withdraw, the biotech industry would likely return to more problematic pre-2013 levels. Such investor wariness could come about if several recent IPO companies experience major clinical trial burnouts, subpar launch trajectories, or price shifts in the American marketplace.
A longtime leader in the biotechnology sector, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald has backed numerous research initiatives and studies that have resulted in new and effective treatments for serious diseases. Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald provided funding for the early stages of a study on a prostate cancer treatment at Cougar Biotechnology, which eventually developed the drug abiraterone acetate. Dr. Rosenwald continued to invest in the drug’s development as trials showed positive results, and in 2009 pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson acquired Cougar Biotechnology. The drug is now showing promise in extending the lives of men who are in the advanced stages of the disease.
In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) tablets in conjunction with prednisone to treat patients with metastatic prostate cancer that does not respond to certain other treatments. In trial studies, results showed that men who took abiraterone acetate and prednisone lived about four months longer than men who took a placebo. Advocates of the drug believe that it will advance the treatment of prostate cancer for men with a poor prognosis. Typically, only one in three patients diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer lives for more than five years.
Coronado Biosciences, which was incorporated in 2006, recently appointed Dr. Kevin Horgan as its chief medical officer. Company leaders stated that Dr. Horgan’s expertise in the industry and immunology research experience will help guide clinical development of the company’s flagship pharmaceutical products, which provide treatment for autoimmune diseases and cancer. TSO is a drug therapy for diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and multiple sclerosis, and CNDO-109 treats multiple myeloma, acute myeloid leukemia, and solid tumors.
Dr. Horgan received his medical degree from University College Cork-National University of Ireland and has served as an immunology research fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. He was senior vice president and chief medical officer of Soligenix, Inc., before accepting the position at Coronado; he has also held leadership positions at Janssen Biotech, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., and the University of California, Los Angeles. He has worked in academic and pharmaceutical roles for more than 25 years, and much of his research and clinical work has focused on gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases.
A prolific investor whose financial backing has led to the creation of many significant new medical treatments, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald has revolutionized biotechnology through his contributions to research and development. Previously, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald served as a director and board member at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals. The firm is currently working on a treatment for patients with kidney disease who are on dialysis. The treatment is already reporting strong results. In 2013, the company’s stock soared in response to news that the drug may also manage anemia in patients with extreme kidney disease who are categorized as “pre-dialysis.”
The drug, ZerenexTM, is a ferric iron-based compound that can bind phosphates and form complexes that are not absorbable. The results of a Phase III U.S. trial for treating elevated phosphate levels in patients with severe kidney disease showed great promise for a cost-effective and efficient treatment. Analysts predict that the drug, which is taken orally, could significantly simplify treatment regimens for late-stage kidney disease.
Ranked atop Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News’ annual list of “Molecular Millionaires” in 2002, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald has built an enduring legacy of leadership and successful investment in the biotechnology sector. In achieving the first-place position out of 100 Molecular Millionaires, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald joined a list of biotech innovators and executives who are recognized around the globe for their accomplishments.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, which has been in existence since 1981, claimed its spot as the premier source of information on business and scientific developments in biotech just as the industry was forming. Since then, the print publication has diversified itself as an online provider of biotech news, as well as in-depth analyses of the science, production, and marketing of promising new drugs. Beginning in 1987, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News has published its annual rankings of Molecular Millionaires and continues to do so to this day. Most recently, Mitchell P. Rales of Danaher was named its number-one Molecular Millionaire, with an estimated share value of nearly $3 billion.
Physician and biotechnology financier Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald is the co-founder of the life sciences and health care investment firm Opus Point Partners. Having earned his medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine in 1983, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald today holds a distinguished seat on that school’s advisory Board of Visitors.
In the August 27 print edition of U.S. News & World Report, Temple University Hospital was listed among the Philadelphia region’s best hospitals for 2013-14. In addition, the Fox Chase Cancer Center has ranked 30th in the nation for cancer care and ranks highly in the region in a number of other specialties.
These annual rankings place these facilities in the top 15 percent of medical centers based on a wide-ranging survey of nearly 10,000 specialists. Around 5,000 hospitals across the nation were ranked in 16 different specialties according to a number of factors, including patient safety, death rates, and facility reputation. The Temple University medical facilities that ranked highly this year in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings have consistently scored well for a number of years. With their dedication to research and patient care, they will continue to do so in the years to come.
A New York City biotechnology professional, Lindsay Rosenwald co-heads Opus Point Partners. Since the mid-1980s, Lindsay Rosenwald has been investing in the biotechnology sector, and he has been closely following the recent surge in industry initial public offerings and takeover bids.
More than a month after Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., turned down a buyout offer of $120 per share from Amgen Inc., Onyx has purportedly received another bid from Amgen. This time, the biotechnology behemoth is offering $130 per share, which is several dollars shy of the stock’s current trading price. Over the last month, Onyx has experienced a massive boost in share values, jumping from $86.82 before the initial Amgen offer to more than $130 after Onyx refused the proposal and began accepting offers from other industry suitors.
Analysts have been watching the developing negotiations closely and have reported that the company’s shares could be valued at up to $165 in a takeover. Onyx currently boasts several successful drugs, including Nexavar and Stivarga, both of which are marketed in partnership with Bayer AG. Furthermore, the firm has developed a blood cancer drug known as Kyprolis; experts predict this therapy will reach sales of $2.4 billion before 2020.