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The Blog of Drug Discovery News

The somewhat golden state

The California economy has been a wreck in recent years (not that they’re alone in that regard; simply so big in terms of GDP and such that their failings are so much more noticeable), but there are some rays of light from the biomedical sector, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). As the firm notes:

The 2011 California Biomedical Industry Report analyzes job growth, wages, tax revenues, product manufacturing, and venture capital funding, and serves as a barometer for biomedical centers across the Unites States.

PwC reports that many CEOs from California’s largest biomedical companies are planning to increase jobs, manufacturing, and research and development operations within California. While the state maintains its industry dominance, other regions are quickly catching up and are expected to replicate the unique “ecosystem” favoring biomedical innovation within just 5 years.

Here are some highlights:

  • 68% said they expected to expand the overall size of their workforce within California, while only 31 percent planned to increase workforce levels outside the state.
  • While relocating out of state was not a strategy cited by CEOs surveyed, when asked about the most attractive U.S. biomedical markets outside California, 76% named Greater Boston followed distantly by North Carolina (31%), Minneapolis-St. Paul (25%) and the Washington-DC corridor (20%).
  • 84% of respondents believe that the FDA regulatory approval process has slowed the growth of their organizations.
  • More than three-quarters of respondents predict that the cumulative impact of changes in the healthcare marketplace, driven largely by health reform, will decrease their profit margins and 54 percent believe that the pace of innovation will slow.

For the full report, click here.

About PwC’s Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Industry Group

PricewaterhouseCoopers Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Industry Group (www.pwc.com/pharma or http://www.pwc.com/medtech) provides assurance, tax and advisory services to proprietary, generic and specialty drug manufacturers, medical device and instrumentation suppliers, biotechnology companies, wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers, contract research organizations, and industry associations. The firm is dedicated to delivering effective solutions to the complex strategic, operational, and financial challenges facing pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies. Follow PwC Health Industries at http://twitter.com/PwCHealth.


February 4, 2011 Posted by | Corporate, Market Trends | Leave a comment

A “just friends” Viagra?

The holidays are barreling down on me, and things are wrapping up from now until sometime in late December for my ddn activities, so I figured I’d just drop in quickly (and hopefully drop in for a few short posts here and there during the “off time” just in case you’re visiting).

So, I saw this story today on the possible therapeutic effects of Ecstasy (the recreational drug, that is, not the feeling you get thinking a  lot about Halle Berry or George Clooney…depending on gender or sexual orientation), and I find myself both intrigued and flabbergasted.

Intrigued, because the potential value for treating people with post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, schizophrenia would be fantastic if the research bears fruit.

On the other hand, I’m flabbergasted (or perhaps just wary and concerned) about the treatment of “inability to socialize.” I’m not saying this isn’t a serious issue and a potential problem for quality of life, but I worry. Because I remember how Viagra came around (and its successors and peers thereafter) to help men with erectile problems, and then it became something to be used recreationally by many to simply give them more…endurance, shall we say?

I’m not sure I like the idea of taking Ecstasy into the realm of dealing with socialization issues among people who probably just need some good counseling to figure out how to interact with people and make friends. But, as with so many medications, if it ends up going mainstream and prescription-grade, it will likely soon move from being for a select group of people who really, really need it to being purchased en masse by people who simply want it or think they need it when there are better answers.

It’s not a new dynamic, of course, but it is still a worrying thought.

I’m sure there some sort of pill I can head to the pharmacy and get to deal with that feeling.

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Labwork & Science, Market Trends | , , , , | Leave a comment

Report predicts steady growth in gene therapy market

With the final act of sanofi-aventis’ dramatic pas-de-deux with Genzyme wrapping up (last time we checked, sanofi-aventis extended its $18.5 billion hostile takeover bid), attention has been drawn to the gene therapy market, which according to a recent market research report, promises to be “one of the most important frontiers in medicine.”

RNCOS, a firm in India that specializes in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry intelligence, has released a new report, “Global Gene Therapy Market Analysis,” which predicts that the global gene therapy market will “grow stupendously in the coming years.”

“Presently, large pharmaceutical companies are investing heavily in both, developing such drugs internally and acquiring such candidates from others,” RNCOS says in the report. “The inherent specificity and predictability of gene therapy have shorten the duration of drug development and increased rates of success in preclinical and clinical trials, relative to non-biological ‘small-molecule’ drugs thus, boosting the further growth of the industry.”

Back in 2008, San Jose, Calif.-based market research firm Global Industry Analysts Inc. predicted that the gene therapy market would reach $484 million by 2015, so it certainly seems that this market is on pace for that rapid growth.

RNCOS notes that although no significant achievements for curing disease have been achieved, advancements in gene therapy have provided useful data, which has helped in understanding the pathogenesis of diseases.

“The discipline heralds a significant potential for the biotechnology industry over the long term, as the approach moves from research labs to clinical trials,” the firm says.

RNCOS notes, however, that the gene therapy market is still at the experimental stages, with success yet to be achieved in completely developing curative therapeutic drugs.

Among the markets showing healthy growth rates are the United States, Europe, Canada, China and Japan, according to the report.

“Our study indicates that the highest growth rate in the developing countries’ gene therapy market is likely to be observed for the treatment of cancer, followed by infectious diseases like AIDS,” RNCOS says.

In addition to our ongoing coverage of sanofi-aventis’ bid to acquire Genzyme, Drug Discovery News has recently reported on several business agreements among companies that are engaged in this type of research. For some of our recent stories, see the following:

City of Hope leads first successful use of RNA interference to treat HIV infection

Expressing themselves: Aragen and CEVEC sign agreement covering novel human expression system

Stanford researchers find non-viral way to make iPS cells

December 15, 2010 Posted by | Market Trends | 1 Comment