Industry Briefs May 2016

Two Former Agency Presidents Launch Elevate Healthcare

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Frank X. Powers, the former President of Dudnyk, and Lorna Weir, a former president at both Dudnyk and Vox Medica as well as the principal of her own consulting firm, have teamed up to launch Elevate Healthcare. The new venture is a multidisciplinary strategy lab, based in suburban Philadelphia, specializing in shaping and transforming product objectives into actionable sales and marketing strategies that drive commercial success for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device clients.

“Elevate’s role for our clients is differentiated in that we work closely with senior leadership to help lay the strategic foundation and ensure that when they pull the trigger to invest in a tactical marketing partner, all the underpinnings of an integrated campaign or launch have been fully vetted, tested, and have full corporate support,” Powers said in a statement. “We’re already working with several anchor clients, deploying our team of strategic, scientific, and creative experts who become fully immersed in strategic planning, sales, and marketing integration.”

IMS and Quintiles Enter $9 Billion Deal

A deal worth around $9 billion was forged between Quintiles, one of the world’s largest contract research providers, and IMS Holdings, a leader in healthcare data. Expected to close in the second half of the year, the deal will allow Quintiles’ expertise to combine with IMS’ massive data to help drug companies get their products to market faster. Quintiles is a larger company with revenues at $4.3 billion, and IMS makes $2.9 billion annually. Combined, the companies hope to save more than $100 million annually.

Abbott Agrees to Buy St. Jude for $25 Billion

To better compete in the cardiovascular device market, Abbott Laboratories agreed to acquire medical device maker, St. Jude Medical, in a deal valued at $25 billion, according to the NYT. Both companies will combine to become a global medical device giant, specializing in areas including cardiovascular, diabetes, and vision, should St. Jude’s shareholders and regulators approve the move. This combination, the Times reports, will allow Abbott and St. Jude to slash roughly $500 million in sales and operation costs and improve patient outcomes.

FDA to Regulate E-Cigarettes

The controversy surrounding e-cigarettes has settled and the FDA will begin regulating the devices just as they do tobacco. The move was hailed by many, as the CDC previously reported that e-cigarette usage is an epidemic among teens—nearly tripling in just one year. Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association said in a statement, “At last the FDA will have basic authority to make science-based decisions that will protect our nation’s youth and the public health from all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookahs.”

GlaxoSmithKline Simplifies its Patent Approach

Moving forward, GlaxoSmithKline will implement a more lenient and flexible approach to filing patents to make medication more accessible to consumers, especially those in impoverished countries. The company will no longer file patents in underprivileged countries, allowing access to generic companies to legally produce their drugs.

CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement, “We recognize that the global healthcare challenge requires us to be flexible in our approach and responsive to different needs. The changes we are setting out aim to make it as clear and simple as possible for generic manufacturers to make and supply versions of GSK medicines in LDCs, LICs, and most LMICs.”

Endo International Under Investigation

Shares of Endo International recently took a hit dropping by 7% after The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint in federal court against the company. Endo is accused of hindering generic competitors’ pursuit on their pain medication Opana ER (oxymorphone) and Lidoderm (lidocaine), supported by illegal “pay-for-delay” compliance with Impax Laboratories and Allergan’s Watson Laboratories. The FTC claims 64% of Endo’s 2009 earnings were a result of the generic delay, which forces an excessive cost on consumers.

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