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Dear Colleague,
Welcome to this week's eNewsletter covering breaking R&D news, business insights, and a feature on repurposing drugs, highlighting ChanTest Corp.'s foray into this field.

Breathing New Life into Old Drugs
By Alissa Poh

Thinking outside the box is generally a good idea. And in drug development, it’s not always out with the old and in with the new.

Some companies feel that drug repurposing – while mostly still easier said than done – remains a viable alternative to the oft-financially crippling process of getting a new drug from pipeline to market, and one worthy of more consideration. More


Pfizer Sees Opportunity in Stem Cells
Reuters [Sept 23] Stem cell research has long been the domain of tiny biotechnology companies operating on a shoestring budget, but new technologies allowing researchers to make stem cells from skin cells has big pharmaceutical companies taking note. Pfizer is especially intrigued by new discoveries using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, where researchers coax ordinary cells into behaving like embryonic stem cells, said John McNeish, an executive director in global research and development at the company. More

Many Trial Reports on FDA-Approved Drugs Go Unpublished
U.S. News and World Report [Sept 23] More than half of all supporting clinical trials for FDA-approved drugs remain unpublished five years after permission has been given to sell the drugs in the US, say University of California, San Francisco researchers. The UCSF team also found evidence of selective reporting of the results from these trials, where results on a new drug outperforming an old drug were more likely to be published than a trial showing a new drug is no better than an old one. More

InhibOx and the National Foundation for Cancer Research Launch Powerful Computational Drug Screening Tool
NFCR press room [Sept 19] The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), a Bethesda-based leading cancer research charity in the US, and InhibOx, a computational drug discovery company located in Oxford, UK, announced today that they have joined forces to launch a powerful new computational drug screening tool, DrugFinder. This new tool enables scientists to leverage the power of computer-aided virtual drug screening technology for novel cancer drug discovery and development and will accelerate the speed of drug discovery. More

Discovery May Lower Drug Costs
The Daily Princetonian [Sept 19] Organocatalysis, where costly metals in a catalytic reaction are replaced by simple organic molecules, was previously viewed as an impractical large-scale method due to its high-energy input. However, a group at Princeton has now developed a way to perform this reaction using no more than a 15-watt fluorescent light bulb as a photon source. They describe this method as having the potential to streamline the synthesis of particular pharmaceuticals, providing a role in reducing drug production costs. More

J&J Scores with Psoriasis Drug
Forbes [Sept 18] The Big Pharma company released results on Thursday of a late-stage study that showed its psoriasis drug, ustekinumab, was more effective than and equally safe as the leading drug in the market, Enbrel, jointly marketed by Wyeth and Amgen. The J&J study showed that ustekinumab, also called Stelara, decreased the severity of psoriasis by 68.0% in patients taking a 45 milligram dose, while patients taking 50 milligrams of Enbrel only saw a 57.0% reduction in their condition. An Amgen spokeswoman said Enbrel has a "consistent safety profile" and that data from the J&J-funded trial do not prove ustekinumab's long-term safety. More

Group Works to Streamline Cancer Therapy Approvals
Yahoo! News [Sept 19] A cancer research group has developed a new set of tools that it hopes will hasten and improve the process of developing and approving new drugs to fight this leading cause of death in the Unites States. The NCI’s Translational Research Working Group (TRWG), whose ideas are published in the Sept. 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, breaks the process into six "Pathways to Clinical Goals" and charts the steps to clarify and streamline the research process. More

J&J Reports Anemia Drug Linked to Deaths in Study
Washington Times [Sept 17] A blockbuster anemia drug made by a J&J company has been linked to the deaths of some patients in an experiment testing whether it could help stroke patients. Participants were given Eprex within six hours of suffering an ischemic stroke, but more patients treated with this drug died compared to the placebo group. More


Pfizer Retooling, Pushing Emerging Market Sales
Associated Press [Sept 22] Pfizer Inc. is dramatically stepping up sales efforts in emerging markets, overhauling U.S. business operations and slashing more costs ahead of the 2011 patent loss for cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor, its head of pharmaceutical operations said Monday. More

Zentiva Accepts Sweetened $2.6 bln Sanofi Bid
Reuters [Sept 22] Czech generic drugmaker Zentiva accepted a new takeover offer from France's Sanofi-Aventis on Monday at a price that will likely tempt shareholders, analysts said. The acquisition takes Sanofi deeper into the field of generic or unpatented medicines – an area previously shunned by large pharmaceutical companies but which is now receiving increased attention as a way to tap booming emerging markets. More

Karo Bio Study Boosts Buyout Prospects from Pfizer
Bloomberg [Sept 17] Karo Bio AB is testing a novel cholesterol-lowering medicine that may make the Swedish biotechnology company attractive to product-hungry drugmakers Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The drug, eprotirome, reduces artery-clogging cholesterol in the bloodstream in a manner different from Pfizer's $12 billion- a-year bestseller, Lipitor. Karo's shares have risen 41 percent since Aug 4 when the company released a study showing the combination of Lipitor and eprotirome decreased cholesterol more than Lipitor alone. More

Schering-Plough to Cut 1,000 US Sales Rep Jobs
CNN Money [Sept 19] Schering-Plough plans to eliminate about 1,000 U.S. sales representatives, or about 20% of its field force, in a move to cut costs. The changes are part of a broader "productivity" initiative, announced in April. At that time, Schering-Plough said it planned to generate annual savings and synergies of $1.5 billion by the end of 2012 through work-force reductions and plant closures, among other actions. This cost reduction effort is also in response to increased pressure on the industry as well as a downturn in sales of cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia, which Schering-Plough co-markets with Merck. More

Eli Lilly CEO Says Gifts Ban Could Drive Drug Research from Massachusetts
Boston Business Journal [Sept 19] The head of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. on Friday blasted a new law governing how drug companies market to physicians, calling it a bad move that will hamper innovation and force companies to reconsider expanding in Massachusetts. More

Glaxo and Roche Await FDA Nod on New Drugs
Reuters [Sept 17] GSK and Roche are both expected to win approval for new drugs in the all-important U.S. market in the coming days, providing a potential boost for their shares. The two medicines – Promacta, designed to treat a rare clotting disorder, and Actemra, the first in a new class of injectable medicines for rheumatoid arthritis, should expand Glaxo and Roche's businesses into new territories. More

Merck to Use Outside Drug Sales Reps in Deal with inVentiv
CNN Money [Sept 19] Merck is turning to outside contractors to help hawk its top-selling drugs, forming a strategic partnership with inVentiv Health Inc. to use inVentiv sales representatives to augment Merck's in-house sales force for certain drugs. InVentiv is a Somerset, N.J., provider of various services to the pharmaceutical industry. More


Triple Play: Tripos Collaboration with Wyeth and Accenture Enhances Research Efficiency
PharmaWeek [Sept 17] If there’s one word Big Pharma loves, it’s “streamlining” – anything to tame the bulky beast of complex, unanalyzed data from increasingly sophisticated research tools that inundate pharmaceutical scientists. So Tripos International’s latest software solution to the problem of inefficient drug discovery – developed as a joint venture with Wyeth and Accenture – could be on other companies’ shopping lists pretty soon. More

For More Recent Articles >>



Lilly Singapore Center for Drug Discovery (LSCDD) - Associate Director of Informatics,
Lead and mentor a strong team for the Bioinformatics group at the Integrative Computational Sciences (ICS) department at LSCDD towards the development of novel algorithms, data analysis methods and software tools for drug discovery. Work closely with the Software Engineering group at ICS, and collaborate with the Discovery IT organization in Europe and USA. For additional information, or to apply visit:

Lilly Singapore Center for Drug Discovery (LSCDD)- Senior Bioinformatics Scientist,
Contribute to the development of novel algorithms, data analysis methods and software tools for drug discovery as part of the Integrative Computational Sciences (ICS) department at LSCDD.  Work closely with informatics and software engineering peers at ICS, and collaborate with the Discovery IT organization in Europe and USA. The successful candidate will offer hands-on insight and expertise in tailored therapeutic informatics and statistical analyses at the post-genomic era. For additional information, or to apply visit:

Lilly Singapore Center for Drug Discovery (LSCDD) - Manager, Software Engineering (Integrative Computational Sciences)
Join the Integrative Computational Sciences (ICS) department at Lilly Singapore Centre for Drug Discovery (LSCDD),as Manager Software Engineering.  Lead the development of integrated applications to process and visualize data from cutting edge technologies used by scientists at Lilly Research Labs (LRL) and the Drug Discovery Research (DDR) teams. Masters in Computer Science/Engineering or related discipline, 10+ years post graduation experience , 2 years management experience needed. For a complete job description and requirements or to apply visit:

Lilly Singapore Center for Drug Discovery(LSCDD) -Senior Software Engineer, 
Join a strong team of software engineers in our Integrative Computational Sciences (ICS) at LSCDD. Collaborate with, and help develop integrated applications to process and visualize data from cutting-edge technologies used by scientists at Lilly Research Labs (LRL) and the Drug Discovery Research (DDR) teams. The Software Engineering team provides computational tools and tailored software solutions that enable the global effort of Tailored Therapeutics; ‘The Right Drug, at The Right Dose for The Right Patient at The Right Time'. For additional information, or to apply visit:

                  More Life Science Jobs ~ Add a Job Listing



DIA 2nd Annual Clinical Forum: Data Driven Drug Development Decisions - October 20-23, 2008 | Ljubljana, Slovenia 

Harvard Biomed HPC Leadership Summit 2008, October 5~7, 2008, Boston, MA USA

Drug Stability Reporting (eStability) Working Group Vendor Meeting - October 7, 2008.

The Fifteenth Annual Biopharmaceutical Applied Statistics Symposium - Nov 3-7,2008~ Savannah, GA

The Next Tool for Healthcare Innovation - A Complimentary Frost & Sullivan eBroadcast, Nov 20, 2008  2pm EST

Frost & Sullivan’s Medical Devices 2009 Executive MindXchange March 8-10 2009, San Francisco, CA

Barnett Educational Services, 2008 Schedule

To have your event featured here, contact Lynn Cloonan for more information.

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Alissa Poh 

You know summer’s really over once you’ve had that Labor Day barbecue, and one last trip to your favorite soft-serve stand before it closes for the season. Now it’s back to work for everyone, and PharmaWeek’s engine is prepared to go full throttle as we enter a new year and I take over the newsletter’s editorial reins. This is a new experience for me; I’m a fresh graduate from the science-writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with an M.S. in pharmacology from Dartmouth Medical School (in New Hampshire) as well, both of which will hopefully stand me in good stead. PharmaWeek’s focus has been, to date, trained mainly on key news and issues in the world of pharma – business, R&D, partnerships and alliances, and the like. But I’ve also been told to regard this newsletter as an “open canvas,” meaning that I’d welcome ideas on any other areas and topics you’d like to see covered. So please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at with your suggestions and feedback.

2009 Bio-IT World Conference

We invite you to submit a speaking proposal for consideration by our Advisory Committee for the 7th Annual Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, April 27-29, 2009 at the World Trade Center in Boston, MA. Please respond by Oct. 15.

The 2009 program will feature best practice case studies and joint partner presentations relevant to the technologies, research, and regulatory issues of life science, pharmaceutical, clinical and IT professionals. Spanning three days, the meeting includes six parallel conference tracks. Details here.


Life Science Webcasts from Bio-IT World and Cambridge Healthtech Media Group

Life Science Webcasts

Bio-IT World Expo
Video Highlights


Drug Discovery, Development and Commercialization: Evolving Challenges and Opportunities
Joshua Boger, PhD, president and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., delivers his keynote at the 2008 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston, April 2008.
View the Webcast Now.

Personalized Genetics: Advancements and Driving Change
Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe, delivers her keynote at the 2008 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston, April 30, 2008.
View the Webcast Now.

The Future of Personal Genomics
A distinguished panel of personal genomics experts discuss the future of personal genomics at the 2008 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston, April 30, 2008.  They include Dietrich Stephan (co-founder, Navigenics); George Church (Harvard Medical School);
Jeff Drazen (editor-in-chief, New England Journal Medicine); Fred Ledley (Bentley College); John Halamka (CIO, Harvard Medical School); and Linda Avey (23andMe). Bio-IT World Editor-in-Chief Kevin Davies moderates the discussion.
View the Webcast Now

Insight Pharma Reports

Obesity Drug Pipeline: Developing Therapies for a Complex Disease

Analyzes the product pipeline; the need and potential market for novel obesity therapies; challenges to obesity drug development; genetic and physiological factors in obesity. More Information

Custom Market Research Services
Our experienced research team will work with you to fully understand your needs in order to create and conduct a custom market research program that meets your objectives.
Learn More

Featured Content

Addressing Life Sciences Constantly Growing Data Challenges Research               Environments sponsored by BlueArc

The continued explosion of raw experimental data, the increased use of video, the growingadoption of new data retention practices, and the move to high throughput computational workflows are all placing new demands on the way life sciences organizations store and manage their data.
Download this white paper to learn about:
• Factors driving the data explosion in the life sciences
• New data management issues that must be addressed
• HPC trends that are placing new demands on storage
• Storage solution attributes that address performance, manageability, and energy efficiency. Download now

“Storage for Science – Methods for Managing Large and Rapidly Growing Data Stores in Life Science Research Environments” sponsored by Isilon

Large and rapidly growing stores of file-based and other data are a hallmark of life science research and bioinformatics. Determining how best to manage those data stores has become a significant challenge for Researchers and IT Pros alike.  This paper is intended to:  Provide guidance on the many storage  requirements common to Life Science research;  Explain the evolution of modern storage :architectures; Summarize the major data storage architectures currently in use.  Additionally, it will present the Isilon IQ clustered storage product as a strong and flexible solution to those needs. Download now

Microsoft’s BioIT Alliance

Bio-IT World published a special supplement with support from Microsoft and their Alliance members. The supplement provides insight into the activities of the Alliance and their partners. Click here to access the Supplement PDF. 

To have your white paper featured here, contact Lynn Cloonan for more information.


 Healthtech InstitutePublished by Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI). Copyright © 2008, all rights reserved. No material may be reproduced electronically or in print without written permission from CHI, 250 First Ave., Needham, MA 02494-2814. For reprints and/or copyright permission, please contact The YGS Group, 1808 Colonial Village Lane, Lancaster, PA; 17601 717-399-1900 ext.125, or email: