L.J. Sellers, senior editor, moved to Pharmaceutical Executive in July 1999 after writing for Pharmaceutical Technology for one year. She acquisitions articles, writes and edits features, including cover profiles, and handles various special projects. Before joining Advanstar, L.J. was a freelance writer and, in addition to numerous magazine articles, has penned four novels and five scripts. Her most recent novel, Beyond Conception, will be available from online bookstores in January 2002.
From its origins as a small company making reproductive hormones to its current status as market leader in multiple sclerosis, Serono has always done things in a big way. The company created the infertility market with two early products: Pergonal (menotropins), used for the in vitro fertilization (IVF) of the first test-tube baby, and Profasi (chorionic gonadatropin), collected from the urine of 100,000 postmenopausal women. Serono later boldly put its MS drug Rebif (interferon beta1a) up against Biogen's Avonex, a similar interferon, in a head-to-head trial and proved Rebif's superiority.
Lifecycle management and line extensions helped the Percocet franchise generate steady annual growth, rising from $40 million in 1997 sales to $214 million in 2003, despite the fact that it had no patent protection.
Of all disease agents, viruses are the most challenging prey. They are crafty bits of genetic material that penetrate healthy cells and manipulate them into making more virus. The scientists who hunt them must be equally stealthy: Search and destroy does not work. And in this game, scientists cannot really boast of conquest, they must settle for simply holding their opponent at bay. To accomplish even that, the deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which affects an estimated 40 million people worldwide, must be attacked daily in three different ways.
Nektar—the drug delivery firm formerly know as Inhale—has been around for 14 years, but its pace during the last few has been dizzying. In 2001, the company made two major acquisitions that not only expanded its technology base from inhaled therapeutics to a broad range of exciting new technologies, but also gave it revenue from five products on the US market that use its technology and lined-up another four in Phase III. In 2002, Nektar brokered 11 collaborative partnerships, and in 2003, it generated $106 million in sales.
The genomics revolution may not have ushered in the age of personalized medicine the way healthcare experts predicted, but innovative diagnostics keep pushing the industry toward the ideal of the "right drug for the right person at the right time. "One company that exemplifies that model is CeMines, a Colorado-based enterprise with an impressive, noninvasive cancer diagnostic in development. The product, which uses molecular fingerprinting to test blood samples, has had a 100 percent accuracy rate for every trial conducted. It not only determines-even in early stages-if a patient has cancer, but provides guidance for which type of treatment will work best.