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Opinion: Why economics must go digital - The Globe and Mail
DIANE COYLE
CAMBRIDGE
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED JUNE 9, 2019

But economists’ benchmark mental world – particularly their instinctive framework for thinking about public policy questions – is one where competition is static, preferences are fixed and individual, rival goods are the norm, and so on.

Starting from there leads inexorably to presuming the “free market” paradigm. As any applied economist knows, this paradigm is named for a mythical entity. But this knowledge somehow does not give rise to an alternative presumption, say, that governments should supply certain products.......Having led a review of the spread of anti-microbial resistance – which will kill millions of people if new drugs are not discovered – O’Neill is dismayed by the lack of progress made by private pharmaceutical companies.

Drug discovery is an information industry, and information is a non-rival public good which the private sector, not surprisingly, is under-supplying. That conclusion is not remotely outlandish in terms of economic analysis. And yet, the idea of nationalizing part of the pharmaceutical industry is outlandish from the perspective of the prevailing economic-policy paradigm......Or consider the issue of data, which has lately greatly exercised policymakers. Should data collection by digital firms be further regulated? Should individuals be paid for providing personal data? And if a sensor in a smart-city environment records that I walk past it, is that my data, too? The standard economic framework of individual choices made independently of one another, with no externalities, and monetary exchange for the transfer of private property
Big_Tech  digital_economy  drug_development  economics  increasing_returns_to_scale  market_power  network_effects  personal_data  pharmaceutical_industry  platforms 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
Merck C.E.O. Ken Frazier on Death Row Cases and the Corporate Soul - The New York Times
By David Gelles

March 9, 2018

How do you prioritize your time?

There are three things that the C.E.O. should be focused on. Number one is that sense of purpose and direction that the company needs, making sure that that’s always clear and people know what we’re all about. The second thing is capital allocation. We only have so many resources. Making sure that you’re putting those resources where you have the greatest opportunity. And the third, which I think by far is the most important, is to make sure that you have the right people in the most important jobs inside the company.
African-Americans  capital_allocation  CEOs  death_row  Kenneth_Frazier  HLS  lawyers  Merck  new_graduates  pharmaceutical_industry  priorities  purpose  resource_allocation  talent_acquisition  think_threes  the_right_people 
march 2018 by jerryking
Novartis’s new chief sets sights on ‘productivity revolution’
SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 | Financial Times | Sarah Neville and Ralph Atkins.

The incoming chief executive of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, has vowed to slash drug development costs, eyeing savings of up to 25 per cent on multibillion-dollar clinical trials as part of a “productivity revolution” at the Swiss drugmaker.

The time and cost of taking a medicine from discovery to market has long been seen as the biggest drag on the pharmaceutical industry’s performance, with the process typically taking up to 14 years and costing at least $2.5bn.

In his first interview as CEO-designate, Dr Narasimhan says analysts have estimated between 10 and 25 per cent could be cut from the cost of trials if digital technology were used to carry them out more efficiently. The company has 200 drug development projects under way and is running 500 trials, so “that will have a big effect if we can do it at scale”.......Dr Narasimhan plans to partner with, or acquire, artificial intelligence and data analytics companies, to supplement Novartis’s strong but “scattered” data science capability.....“I really think of our future as a medicines and data science company, centred on innovation and access.”

He must now decide where Novartis has the capability “to really create unique value . . . and where is the adjacency too far?”.....Does he need the cash pile that would be generated by selling off these parts of the business to realise his big data vision? He says: “Right now, on data science, I feel like it’s much more about building a culture and a talent base . . . ...Novartis has “a huge database of prior clinical trials and we know exactly where we have been successful in terms of centres around the world recruiting certain types of patients, and we’re able to now use advanced analytics to help us better predict where to go . . . to find specific types of patients.

“We’re finding that we’re able to significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to execute a clinical trial and that’s huge . . . You could take huge cost out.”...Dr Narasimhan cites one inspiration as a visit to Disney World with his young children where he saw how efficiently people were moved around the park, constantly monitored by “an army of [Massachusetts Institute of Technology-]trained data scientists”.
He has now harnessed similar technology to overhaul the way Novartis conducts its global drug trials. His clinical operations teams no longer rely on Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides, but instead “bring up a screen that has a predictive algorithm that in real time is recalculating what is the likelihood our trials enrol, what is the quality of our clinical trials”.

“For our industry I think this is pretty far ahead,” he adds.

More broadly, he is realistic about the likely attrition rate. “We will fail at many of these experiments, but if we hit on a couple of big ones that are transformative, I think you can see a step change in productivity.”
algorithms  analytics  artificial_intelligence  attrition_rates  CEOs  data_driven  data_scientists  drug_development  failure  Indian-Americans  multiple_targets  Novartis  pharmaceutical_industry  predictive_analytics  productivity  productivity_payoffs  product_development  real-time  scaling  spreadsheets  Vas_Narasimhan 
november 2017 by jerryking
The New Innovator’s Dilemma: When Customers Won’t Pay for Better - WSJ
Aug. 15, 2017 | WSJ | By Denise Roland.

As the turmoil at Novo Nordisk shows, there are commercial limits to innovation. Nokia Corp. and BlackBerry Ltd. both lost their market dominance in smartphones because competitors beat them with major technological advances. Both firms are in the process of reinventing themselves.

In other cases, though, innovation has hit a wall. That is especially the case in some pockets of the pharmaceuticals business, where the scope for big improvements is narrowing.
CDC  Novo_Nordisk  innovation  pricing  marketing  strategy  insulin  diabetes  Denmark  Danish  pharmaceutical_industry  pharmacy-benefit_management 
august 2017 by jerryking
The Pop-Up Employer: Build a Team, Do the Job, Say Goodbye -
JULY 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By NOAM SCHEIBER.

Two Stanford biz profs, Melissa Valentine and Michael Bernstein, have introduced the idea of “flash organizations” — ephemeral setups to execute a single, complex project in ways traditionally associated with corporations, nonprofit groups or governments.....information technology has made the flash organization a suddenly viable form across a number of industries.....intermediaries are already springing up across industries like software and pharmaceuticals to assemble such organizations. They rely heavily on data and algorithms to determine which workers are best suited to one another, and also on decidedly lower-tech innovations, like middle management......Temporary organizations capable of taking on complicated projects have existed for decades, e.g. Hollywood, where producers assemble teams of directors, writers, actors, costume and set designers and a variety of other craftsmen and technicians to execute projects with budgets in the tens if not hundreds of millions.....Jody Miller, a former media executive and venture capitalist, a co-founder of the Business Talent Group, sets up temporary teams of freelancers for corporations. “We’re the producers,” Ms. Miller said. “We understand how to evaluate talent, pick the team.”.....
Three lessons stand out across the flash-type models. First is that the platforms tend to be highly dependent on data and computing power....Second is the importance of well-established roles. ...Third, there is perhaps the least likely of innovations: middle management. The typical freelancer performs worker-bee tasks. Flash-like organizations tend to combine both workers and managers...........Flash organizations have obvious limits....they tend to work best for projects with well-defined life spans, not continuing engagements....“The bottleneck now is project managers,” ... “It’s a really tough position to fill.”.....even while fostering flexibility, the model could easily compound insecurity. Temporary firms are not likely to provide health or retirement benefits. ..... the anxiety is legitimate, but these platforms could eventually dampen insecurity by playing a role that companies have historically played: providing benefits, topping off earnings if workers’ freelance income is too low or too spotty, even allowing workers to organize.
pop-ups  freelancing  on-demand  ephemerality  producers  execution  Hollywood  project_management  teams  data  algo  lessons_learned  Business_Talent_Group  Gigster  Artella  Foundry  Slack  pharmaceutical_industry  Outsourcing  contractors  job_insecurity  middle_management  gig_economy  ad_hoc  dissolutions  short-term  short-lived 
july 2017 by jerryking
The humbling of Valeant’s Michael Pearson - The Globe and Mail
TIM KILADZE
The humbling of Valeant’s Michael Pearson
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2016

What we’re left with: A “Canadian” company we should happily disown, and critical reminders that certain business rules should never be broken. Chief among them: Debt is never a problem until, suddenly, it is; markets will love you until, suddenly, they don’t; and the roll-up game, driven by endless acquisitions, is nearly impossible to sustain.....By slashing R&D spending costs, Mr. Pearson freed up cash flow to buy more companies – whose R&D departments were then gutted to repeat the same trick. To juice earnings, he acquired Ottawa-based Biovail in 2010, which came with a Barbados-based subsidiary. Valeant started ushering U.S. profits to offshore tax domiciles – marking the first-ever pharmaceutical tax inversion and sending its corporate tax rate to the mid-single digits.

To fuel acquisitions, Mr. Pearson borrowed tens of billions of $ of incredibly cheap debt. By mid-2015, Valeant had $31-billion (U.S.) in debt and paid over $1-billion a year in interest.

There were warning signs these bold acts would backfire. Last March, Warren Buffett’s inner circle started to inflict damage. At an investor meeting, Charlie Munger, one of the value investor’s best friends, said he was “holding his nose” by looking at Valeant, adding that the company “wasn’t moral.”

That cautionary message did little to deter two of Valeant’s top investors: the Sequoia Fund – which has ties to Mr. Buffett – and Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management. Whatever criticisms were hurled at the drug maker, they stood by it, repeatedly stressing that they believed in Mr. Pearson. Their faith in him seemed nearly biblical. And because they showed resolve, hedge funds kept piling in – momentum investing at its very worst. By the end of June, nearly 100 of them had stakes in the drug maker........One of the best lessons from the global financial crisis was that everything became correlated when the U.S. housing market crashed. The same is true for Valeant. Investigations into its pricing policy made investors worry about revenue; worries about the income statement morphed into fears about balance-sheet debt; leverage woes prevented Valeant from borrowing more to fund future acquisitions.

The cynicism turned investors’ momentum strategy on its head.
Valeant  Bay_Street  CEOs  pharmaceutical_industry  Charlie_Munger  Warren_Buffett  M&A  boards_&_directors_&_governance  correlations  hedge_funds  Pershing_Square  William_Ackman  debt  R&D  cash_flows  roll_ups 
march 2016 by jerryking
Thoughtful Italian dealmaker who plays the long game
| Financial Times |

Stefano Pessina has struck dozens of deals during his 40-year career. But unlike a gung-ho corporate raider, the 74-year-old chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance has played the long game, getting to know potential partners and targets, and waiting for the right moment to strike. This week was no different. Walgreens announced the purchase of Rite Aid for $17.2bn, alighting on the chain in a period of consolidation in the US pharmacy industry.
dealmakers  Italian  pharmaceutical_industry  retailers  CEOs  consolidation  pharmacies  long-term  long-range 
november 2015 by jerryking
We will pay for antibiotic abuse - The Globe and Mail
ANDRÉ PICARD
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Oct. 14 2014

We’re racing back to the preantibiotic age because microbes, from Mycobacterium tuberculosis through to Staphylococcus aureus, are developing resistance to the drugs we have and there is nothing much new in the pipeline.

It’s difficult to overstate how grave the problem is, in medical, social or political terms. To give you a sense: Britain has declared antimicrobial resistance to be a threat to the country’s security and economy on par with terrorism and climate change.

constant exposure to antibiotics also fuels resistance, and as a result, we’re seeing the emergence of all manner of superbugs – bacteria that don’t respond to available antibiotics.
pharmaceutical_industry  André_Picard  antibiotics  bacteria  antimicrobial_resistance 
october 2014 by jerryking
Rexall reinvents itself in a bid to boost profitability - The Globe and Mail
MARINA STRAUSS - RETAILING REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jun. 04 2014

Rexall’s transformation entails everything from replacing its deep blue and orange signature colours with “pool-side” aqua to launching new profit-friendly private label lines such as Be Better and adding more food. A key weapon of choice is offering flu shots and health consultations....Even so, Rexall may need to team up with another player, such as grocer Sobeys or discounter Wal-Mart Canada Corp. or Quebec-based pharmacy specialist Jean Coutu, Mr. Torella suggested. Rexall runs pharmacies in Ontario and Western Canada but none in Quebec nor Eastern Canada, where Sobeys operates drugstores..... Joe Jackman and his Jackman Reinvention Inc. firm, which helped revive Duane Reade and other retailers, is now advising Rexall in its change process.
pharmaceutical_industry  Loblaws  Marina_Strauss  retailers  reinvention  pharmacies  boutiques 
july 2014 by jerryking
Sponsor Generated Content: 4 Industries Most in Need of Data Scientists
June 16, 2014 12:00 am ET
4 Industries Most in Need of Data Scientists
NARRATIVESby WSJ. Custom Studios for SAS

Agriculture
Relying on sensors in farm machinery, in soil and on planes flown over fields, precision agriculture is an emerging practice in which growing crops is directed by data covering everything from soil conditions to weather patterns to commodity pricing. “Precision agriculture helps you optimize yield and avoid major mistakes,” says Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation, a think tank in Washington, D.C. For example, farmers traditionally have planted a crop, then applied fertilizer uniformly across entire fields. Data models allow them to instead customize the spread of fertilizer, seed, water and pesticide across different areas of their farms—even if the land rolls on for 50,000 acres.

Finance
Big data promises to discover better models to gauge risk, which could minimize the likelihood of scenarios such as the subprime mortgage meltdown. Data scientists, though, also are charged with many less obvious tasks in the financial industry, says Bill Rand, director of the Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland. He points to one experiment that analyzed keywords in financial documents to identify competitors in different niches, helping pinpoint investment opportunities.

Government
Government organizations have huge stockpiles of data that can be applied against all sorts of problems, from food safety to terrorism. Joshua Sullivan, a data scientist who led the development of Booz Allen Hamilton’s The Field Guide to Data Science, cites one surprising use of analytics concerning government subsidies. “They created an amazing visualization that helped you see the disconnect between the locations of food distribution sites and the populations they served,” Sullivan says. “That's the type of thing that isn't easy to see in a pile of static reports; you need the imagination of a data scientist to depict the story in the data.”

Pharma
Developing a new drug can take more than a decade and cost billions. Data tools can help take some of the sting out, pinpointing the best drug candidates by scanning across pools of information, such as marketing data and adverse patient reactions. “We can model data and prioritize which experiments we take [forward],” Sullivan says. “Big data can help sort out the most promising drugs even before you do experiments on mice. Just three years ago that would have been impossible. But that's what data scientists do—they tee up the right question to ask.”
drug_development  precision_agriculture  farming  data_scientists  agriculture  massive_data_sets  data  finance  government  pharmaceutical_industry  product_development  non-obvious  storytelling  data_journalism  stockpiles 
june 2014 by jerryking
Drug-funding sob stories make for good reading, but we need hard evidence to set public policy
Mar. 16 2014 | The Globe and Mail | ANDRÉ PICARD.

the key question in public policy is always: What else could be done with the money that would provide more bang for the buck?

To fund or not fund drugs is not an easy discussion to have. But it is a necessary one. As compelling as the stories of suffering children may be, we have to make decisions based on evidence. We also owe it to ourselves to negotiate firmly with drug-makers.

We cannot continue to fall prey to emotional blackmail, no matter how much the headlines sting.
André_Picard  difficult_conversations  disease  evidence  evidence_based  emotional_blackmail  opportunity_costs  orphan_drugs  pharmaceutical_industry  public_policy 
march 2014 by jerryking
Sanofi head sees cures for what ails Canada’s pharma sector - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 16 2013 |The Globe and Mail | SOPHIE COUSINEAU.

Canada and Quebec, where the country’s pharmaceutical R&D is concentrated, must also adapt quickly to the downsizing of in-house research.

“The business model has changed not only for financial considerations, but because the science has shifted,” he said. “It has become so complex that no single organization has all the disciplines to be successful.”

The collaborative approach that Mr. Viehbacher has tried to instill at Sanofi since he took over the company in late 2008 relies on creating an ecosystem like the one found in Boston, where the company acquired rare-disease specialist Genzyme Corp. for $20.1-billion (U.S.) in 2011.

In Boston, researchers from universities, biotech firms and pharmaceutical companies often work together from the get-go, in a public-private partnership, or PPP, culture. Big pharma doesn’t wait around to pick the biotech fruits when they are ripe. “We can accelerate the development or, in certain cases, kill a project earlier, so that resources can go elsewhere,” Mr. Viehbacher explained.
pharmaceutical_industry  Montreal  CEOs  Sanofi  accelerators  kill_rates  competitive_landscape  patents  intellectual_property  PPP  partnerships  Sophie_Cousineau 
june 2013 by jerryking
Africa's Malaria Battle: Fake Drug Pipeline Undercuts Progress
May 28, 2013 | WSJ| By BENOÎT FAUCON in Luanda, Angola, COLUM MURPHY in Guangzhou, China, and JEANNE WHALEN in London.
malaria  Africa  China  counterfeits  Angola  Congo  Novartis  Luanda  drugs  pharmaceutical_industry  authenticity 
may 2013 by jerryking
Neurosurgeon’s new path takes him closer to his past
Oct. 26 2012 | The Globe and Mail | PAUL WALDIE.

The sale prompted Dr. Dan to come back home and completely change his life. He quit neurosurgery, sold the Teva shares he had received from the sale and created the Paloma Foundation in 2002 with $17-million.
high_net_worth  philanthropy  family-owned_businesses  Paul_Waldie  pharmaceutical_industry  foundations  aboriginals 
february 2013 by jerryking
M.I.T. Lab Hatches Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens - NYTimes.com
November 24, 2012 | NYT | By HANNAH SELIGSON.

Dr. Robert Langer, 64, knows how. Since the 1980s, his Langer Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has spun out companies whose products treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease and schizophrenia, among other diseases, and even thicken hair.

The Langer Lab is on the front lines of turning discoveries made in the lab into a range of drugs and drug delivery systems. Without this kind of technology transfer, the thinking goes, scientific discoveries might well sit on the shelf, stifling innovation.

A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Langer has helped start 25 companies and has 811 patents, issued or pending, to his name.
MIT  Colleges_&_Universities  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  start_ups  technology_transfers  scaling  mentoring  biotech  pharmaceutical_industry  innovation  academia  commercialization  accelerators  incubators 
november 2012 by jerryking
Drugs That Are as Smart as Our Diseases | Mind & Matter - WSJ.com
SEPT.17, 2011 | WSJ | By MATT RIDLEY. The very opposite of
Moore's Law is happening at the downstream end of the R&D pipeline.
The number of new molecules approved per billion dollars of
inflation-adjusted R&D has declined inexorably at 9% a year and is
now 1/100th of what it was in 1950....

Drugs must be designed to nudge whole networks rather than single
targets. e.g., to develop a treatment for the hospital infection
Clostridium difficile, e-Therapeutics drew a sort of spider's web of how
all the proteins on the outside of the bacterium interacted. From that
web, they identified crucial nodes in the network and, by trial and
error, selected a combination of molecules that could attack those
nodes.

A similar approach is showing promise for cancer and even neurological
disease. It means hitting multiple targets simultaneously, the targets
chosen by network analysis. Where diseases are complex, the cures will
be complex, too.
drugs  pharmaceutical_industry  R&D  decline  research  cancers  networks  complexity  disease  biochemistry  Moore's_Law  molecules  trial_&_error  multiple_targets  Clostridium_difficile 
september 2011 by jerryking
Big Pharma wants to ‘friend’ you - The Globe and Mail
ADRIANA BARTON
VANCOUVER— From Monday's Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Jul. 24, 2011
pharmaceutical_industry  social_media 
july 2011 by jerryking
Ghanaian SMS Start Up Tackles Fake Drug Scourge - Tech Europe - WSJ
November 12, 2010 WSJ By Ben Rooney. A patient goes into the
pharmicist, buys the drugs and scratches off a panel to reveal an
10-digit code. They send that number in an SMS message — which is free —
using a short dialing code. A few seconds later they get a text back
confirming, or otherwise, the authenticity of the drugs.
drugs  pharmaceutical_industry  Ghana  SMS  counterfeits  pharmacies  mobile_phones  Africa  text_messages  authenticity 
july 2011 by jerryking
Pharma Edges Toward 'Patent Cliff' - WSJ.com
JUNE 15, 2011, By STEN STOVALL.

The European pharmaceuticals sector has long been chugging toward a
so-called patent cliff, when many top-selling drugs will lose legal
protection, unleashing generic versions onto markets that will sap
billions of dollars of revenue from "Big Pharma." The cliff is fast
approaching. White-knuckled investors have been hoping that drug makers
would have found replacement products by now or adequately diversified
themselves to withstand the impact. Indeed, some are better placed, and
some already have taken much of the hit, such as GlaxoSmithKline PLC,
which also has hopefully put behind it exposure to huge legal claims
regarding its once top-selling diabetes drug Avandia. Still, an
estimated $250 billion in sales is at risk through 2015, according to
data from Internet pharmaceuticals consultancy EvaluatePharma.
patents  pharmaceutical_industry  expirations  Europe 
june 2011 by jerryking
The Rise of Backyard Biotech - Magazine - The Atlantic
JUNE 2011 ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
The Rise of Backyard Biotech
Powered by social networking, file sharing, and e-mail, a new cottage industry is bringing niche drugs to market.

By QUINN NORTON
innovation  biotech  home_based  DIY  medical  pharmaceutical_industry  cottage_industries  drug_development 
may 2011 by jerryking
Drug money
April 30, 2010 | Report on Business Magazine | Steve Brearton
Steve_Brearton  pharmaceutical_industry  vending 
february 2011 by jerryking
For SAS, Asia Offers Risks and Potential - WSJ.com
NOV. 21, 2010 | WSJ| By JASON CHOW. "SAS "uses companies'
historical data to work out their futures."...Q: Where is growth in Asia
coming from? A: We do a lot of work in risk management for banks. We
make sure their risk computations are up-to-date and [help them] with
their anti-money laundering. ...We see a lot of growth from the
pharmaceutical sector. SAS has a tool to analyze clinical trials &
effectiveness of a particular drug. We're seeing more pharmaceutical
drug trials move to Asia, esp. in India....Essentially, anybody who's
got data. And lots of it. Of course, there are things like social-media
analysis that don't require your data. We can tell you what people think
of you or your brand without any data from you. We can search out every
blog & tweet that's been done about you for the last 30 days or
whatever time frame, and tell you how people are thinking of your
brand. We call it sentiment analysis. We're having a hard time keeping
up with customer demand on that product.
SAS  Asian  analytics  social_media  reputation  money_laundering  pharmaceutical_industry  sentiment_analysis  risk-management 
november 2010 by jerryking
The Regulation Crisis: A failure of economic and environmental regulation
June 14, 2010 | The New Yorker | by James Surowiecki.
As Carpenter argues in a recent essay, successful regulation, by filling
information gaps and managing risk, fosters confidence in the safety
and honesty of markets, which in turn makes them bigger and more robust.
The pharmaceutical industry, for instance, would be much smaller if
people were seriously worried that they might be poisoned every time
they took a new drug. And though executives chafe at financial
regulation, the protection it provides makes investors far more likely
to hand them money to play with. If we want our regulators to do better,
we have to embrace a simple idea: regulation isn’t an obstacle to
thriving free markets; it’s a vital part of them.
confidence  regulation  James_Surowiecki  free_markets  economics  investors  politics  SEC  oil_spills  BP  information_gaps  pharmaceutical_industry  regulators 
june 2010 by jerryking

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