Industry Briefs November 2016

Deep Cuts Rock Novo Nordisk as CEO Steps Down

industry-briefs-1One thousand cuts to staff are in the works at Novo Nordisk. According to company officials, the cuts are necessary to sustain productivity in 2017 as the company faces challenges and competitors.

The notices will be distributed within the next two months. The cuts include: R&D units, headquarter staff functions, and global commercial organizations.

“We deeply regret that good colleagues stand to lose their jobs, and it has been a difficult decision to make,” says CEO, Lars Rebien Sørensen. “However we have concluded that it is needed in order for us to have a sustainable balance between income and costs.” Sørensen, however, recently announced he will step down as CEO and Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen will take his place in January.

Merck’s Sales Rise Beyond Expectations

After posting its third-quarter net income at $2.2 billion, Merck is experiencing rapid growth. That number is up from $1.8 billion within a three-year period, while sales within the third-quarter period rose 5% to 10.5 billion.

CEO Kenneth C. Frazier said in a statement to the WSJ, “The latest achievements for Keytruda and other recent regulatory approvals across our portfolio show that our innovation strategy is working.” This year, Merck now expects sales to range between $39.7 billion and $40.2 billion. That is up from earlier expectations between $39.1 billion to $40.1 billion.

EpiPen Controversy Continues

industry-briefs-2_blumenthalMylan shared news of its pending case with the U.S. Department of Justice assuring a settlement has been reached for the sum of $465 million. This revelation sent Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., into a rage. Senator Blumenthal said in a statement to Bloomberg, that he views the settlement as a “sweetheart deal.” Senator Blumenthal noted that the settlement was “inadequate”—especially when the shortcoming equates to over $700 million.

“Most important to me: The lack of a complete investigation. That money may be woefully short of what it should be,” Senator Blumenthal notes. “We have no way of knowing until the Department of Justice completes the investigation.” The Department of Justice has yet to comment on the matter, which may mean the settlement may not be final.

A Dynamic Duo Forms

Takeda and Crescendo Biologics revealed plans to cultivate cancer therapeutics based on the latter’s Humabody platform. The two companies matriculated a global collaboration and licensed agreement apprised at $790 million.

“We see significant potential in Crescendo and its innovative technology to develop unique, small and customizable Humabody-based therapeutics,” said Andrew Plump MD, PhD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Takeda. “Collaborations are critical to helping us achieve our aspiration of curing cancer. Working together with Crescendo will enable us to leverage its important technology to support Takeda’s goal of developing next generation, highly modular and targeted therapies to treat cancer.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Crescendo is eligible to receive up to 36 million in a combination of an upfront payment, investment, research funding and preclinical milestones. Takeda signed agreements with Crescendo Biologics through its wholly owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceutical, Inc.

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