In an interview reported in Fierce Biotech, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said the company will make "tough" spending decisions to fuel development of innovative products. That means - kill less promising drugs quickly to feed the more promising ones.
Merck, like most of Big Pharma, faces revenue losses due to expiration of patents that allow generic competition in the door. It has new competition for its drugs, Cozaar and Hyzaar, that booked $3.6 B in sales in 2009.
New innovative products in its pipeline need to be brought forward to make up the difference. One of its most talked about products is anaceptapib - a cholesterol treatment. Clinical results reported earlier this year showed the drug raised so-called "good cholesterol" by 138% and lowered "bad cholesterol" by 40% in the trial subjects - who were already taking statins.
As reported in an earlier post today, Merck also got a small shot in the arm when it announced its application for its new hepatitis C drug had been accepted for accelerated review by the FDA and the EMA. Frazier says bringing innovative products to market regularly is the only way to sustain business growth and profits.
Frazier also indicated that Merck would pursue more partnerships in the future rather than acquire companies. Partnerships in the emergin markets are current Merck targets. Partnerships are preferred as Merck will not have to pay a premium for assets and it can capitalize on the market knowledge the local partner brings to the emerging market.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Jan 7th 2011.