The Lifecycle of Cipro

A cross-functional team of medical, clinical, marketing, and regulatory experts has kept Cipro's lifecycle going for an impressive 17 years--and counting.
Aug 01, 2004

Franchise Architect. Alan Westwood, vice-president of global strategic marketing, anti-infectives, says Cipro is Bayer’s proud history, but Avelox is its promising future.

In 1982, Alan Westwood, brand new to a medical affairs assignment in Bayer's UK division, was going through his desk. He discovered a document for an antibiotic compound called BAY o9867. Westwood, a microbiologist, started reading. "I was rather amazed by its in vitro activity," he says.

Team Cipro. Seated, left to right: Jonathan Harris, deputy director, anti-infective marketing; Jennifer Stahl, director, US oncology, new business development and former director, anti-infective marketing, Cipro/Cipro XR; Carol DEugenio, deputy director, marketing research. Standing, left to right: Steven Kowalsky, PharmD, global medical director, global clinical development; Marc VanUnen, director, anti-infective marketing, Cipro/Cipro XR; Eric Zalamea, deputy director, anti-infective marketing, Cipro; Carol Sever, deputy director, regulatory affairs.
Westwood, who today is vice-president of global strategic marketing for Bayer's anti-infectives franchise, ran down to the marketing group to find out the story on the compound. Looking back, he realizes that 20 years ago that was a surprising thing for a medical-affairs type to do. "It was very unusual, and it was one of the pivotal parts of my career," he says.

Westwood's reach across disciplinary lines was prophetic. BAY o9867, better known as Cipro (ciprofloxacin), launched in 1987 and turned out to be one of the great medicines of the 20th century. Partly that was a matter of the molecule itself, an exceptionally useful, powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic. But it was also a product of something Westwood set in motion that day: a textbook example of how R&D and marketing can collaborate on an extraordinary product. Among Cipro's accomplishments, it was:
  • the first antibiotic to launch (in 1987 in the United States) with five separate indications—urinary tract infections (UTIs), lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), skin and skin structure infections, bone and joint infections, and infectious diarrhea
  • the first antibiotic to reach sales of $ 100 million in its first year on the market
  • the subject of 40, 000 research publications
  • available in four tablet dosages (100, 250, 500, and 750 mg), five formulations (tablets, IV, ear drops, and oral suspension), and an extended-release form
  • a drug with 16 approved indications in the United States, the last of which—pediatric use for complicated UTIs—extended its patent exclusivity for six months in late 2003.

Throughout its history, Cipro has been a compelling case study in how to manage a drug over the course of its lifecycle, through reformulation, research, and promotion. It has also been a kind of training ground where a whole generation of Bayer marketing professionals learned their craft.

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