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DNA Sciences Laboratories Inc.

Division of Allergan PLC

Latest From DNA Sciences Laboratories Inc.

PPD: Discoverizing the CRO Model

A period of rapid growth during the mid-1990s, which included a series of acquisitions and an IPO, distracted PPD's management' from the fundamentals of running their business. And By 1999, CEO Fred Eshelman saw that his company was running the risk of becoming untracked. The problems ranged from project delays to uneven quality to inadequate fiscal management. In response, PPD's leadership implemented a series of measures to address those deficiencies. These efforts, and a little luck, helped PPD weather the two-year CRO slump far better that did its competitors. But PPD is hardly resting on its laurels. With it becoming increasingly apparent that the traditional, pure fee-for service model is obsolete, PPD, like the other major CROs, is moving in to new areas in search of higher margins. PPD is, however, unique in venturing upstream in R&D, while the others have businesses in marketing, web-web-enablement and consulting services. PPD has built an already profitable discovery business designed to generate income from up-front and research support payments, as well as royalty fees and milestones. It's a move that, while perhaps riskier than the tack being taken by the other CROs, could yield far greater rewards.

BioPharmaceutical Strategy

Maturing Business Models Using Genomics Data

Advice of Counsel addresses the question of whether genomics companies are using new business models and deal structures to commercialize their technologies.

BioPharmaceutical Strategy

Variagenics: Lower-Risk Pharmacogenomics

Despite its presumed intuitive appeal, the concept of applying pharmacogenomics to predict drug response remains largely unproven, and the handful of companies trying for a foothold in this market face challenges on several fronts: finding drug companies who've bought into the concept and are willing to collaborate, negotiating deals without the leverage of issued patents linking SNPs and haplotypes to drug response, and convincing investors both that the technology won't be commoditized, and that pharmaceutical firms won't bring it in-house and leave them in the cold. Variagenics is assuming that drug companies with whom it partners will use data from clinical trials that incorporate pharmacogenomic assays to obtain a label linking the sale of the drug and the use of the tests, which Variagenics will supply or license. As it seeks partners, Variagenics is also raising its visibility by collaborating with CROs and offering expertise and services to those drug companies and biotechs who have yet to devote resources to in-house pharmacogenomics programs but who want a taste of the technology.

BioPharmaceutical Research and Development Strategies

The People Business: The Renaissance of Population Genetics

New technologies enable the rapid processing of genetic information, but since gene data isn't associated with specific diseases and diseased tissues, in and of itself it isn't clinically useful. A new breed of start-ups aims to provide both the phenotypic and genotypic sides of the equation by creating databases of patients and patient samples. Still unclear is how much drug firms will pay for disease-associated gene data; genetics firms are taking various approaches to monetizing their databases, from focusing initially on high-value diagnostics to creating true target-discovery businesses, to selling their data along with associated software and services. There are also ethical issues to hammer out. The new companies must take care to protect patients' rights. They must consider the need for explicit consent to use the information collected from patients, especially when they are participating in research whose purpose is as yet undefined.

BioPharmaceutical Strategy
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