Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can Tekturna replace Diovan?

wsj online notes:

Sales of Novartis's blockbuster drug, Diovan, are expected to tumble when the high-blood-pressure pill's patent expires in four years. That puts Joe Jimenez, a former packaged-goods executive tapped to run Novartis's prescription-drug business last year, in the difficult position of finding ways to make up for some $5 billion in annual revenue.

His plan: Instead of the traditional search for a single blockbuster drug, he will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a new hypertension pill called Tekturna; speed development of a clutch of new drugs for cancer and other diseases; and expand aggressively in emerging markets to try to spur sales growth there.

***Pharmalivesearch noted: Jimenez joined Novartis in April from Blackstone, the private equity firm, and was previously on the AstraZeneca board and an exec at HJ Heinz. Jimenez' predecessor Tom Ebeling worked at Pepsi.

***Separately, wsj on Humira: A unit of Bayer AG has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit in a U.S. court [ED Texas] against Abbott Laboratories relating to the autoimmune drug Humira, which is Abbott's top-selling product.

Humira is an injectable drug for treating multiple immune system-related diseases, including rheumatoid and other types of arthritis, the intestinal disorder Crohn's disease and the skin condition plaque psoriasis. Abbott has projected that Humira sales will exceed $4.4 billion this year.

***Separately, on Evista

delawareonline noted: "Teva alone has the resources to do these at-risk launches," said Joseph O'Malley, a patent lawyer at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in New York who represents makers of brand-name drugs, in a telephone interview. "If they gamble and are incorrect, the lost profits could be catastrophic to smaller companies that don't have Teva's resources."

The company, which often targets patents it contends are obvious variations on existing ideas, has yet to pay damages. Instead, Teva scooped up sales.



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