A conference on Innovation in Healthcare is being held in Cambridge, MA on Tuesday, February 1, 2011.
The speaker list is impressive and includes Michael Porter (Porter’s 5 forces model is well known to all MBA students), John Mendelsohn (President of MD Anderson), Janet Woodcock (Director of Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at FDA) and Peter Senge (author of the Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization).
The symposium, whose lead sponsor is Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, will discuss how to to improve the system for delivering healthcare services, and how to increase the productivity of translating biomedical research into medical innovation. The conference certainly has ambitious goals in the topics it plans to cover!
Innovation to me is about adding value, whether that be in the delivery of a service or the development of a new product by a biotechnology company. If you are in the Boston area on February 1, this one day symposium at MIT looks well worth attending, and the registration fee is inexpensive ($50).
The news, reported by Bloomberg, last week that generic companies may be subject to stricter FDA standards in order to show therapeutic equivalence is good news for the biotech industry and consumers.
Generic companies have a pretty easy ride in obtaining product approval, and I’ve long been convinced that the formulation of a brand, and what makes it work can include the so called inactive ingredients and how it is put together. I know of many people who have experienced side effects with generics that they don’t have with the branded product.
For this reason, branded generics from the original manufacturer have the ability to retain some market share in the face of generic competition. Sandoz, the generic arm of Novartis uses this strategy to good effect with many mature products. However, if companies instead want to try and maintain a premium priced brand and not adapt to the entry of generics, then they will find their market share erodes extremely fast. Not only is brand market erosion fast with generic drugs, but with biosimilars too.
As reported by Reuters, sales of generic enoxaparin sodium injection, Momenta’s copy of Sanofi’s anti-thrombotic, low molecular weight, heparin sold as “Lovenox” were $292million in the third quarter of 2010. Sandoz markets enoxaparin on behalf of Momenta. They launched the product on July 23, and achieved $292 million of sales in 69 days. With annual sales forecast to be over $1billion, the biosimilar will be a blockbuster and make a significant dent in the $2.9 billion sales of Lovenox in 2009.
The Boston Business Journal reports that Sandoz/Momenta have captured 60% market share already, which is not good news for Sanofi-Aventis and may explain their desire to make acquisitions such as Genzyme to make up for this loss.
Biosimilars that are fully substitutable for the original product, look likely to erode brands extremely fast. Momenta’s success is good for the biotechnology industry and highlights the future market opportunity from development of biosimilars.