In a new blog post entitled Pharma in 2011: A Year for Big Decisions, Scientia Advisors Managing Partner Harry Glorikian (who is my client) writes that most pharma firms’ current approaches for playing in new fields are likely to fail—and makes a number of  industry predictions for the coming year.
With several major products going off –patent, and with regulatory and policy changes in the works, Glorikian writes, many large pharma companies must rethink  their current business models in order to succeed on new playing fields. 

In the coming year, pharma can expect:

  • Little growth for big caps and fewer big cap company mergers
· Need for cash generation leading to divestment of  developmental assets
  • Increased focus on therapeutics for niche and orphan diseases
  • Accelerated  need for prescription/diagnostics combinations, leading to partnerships or acquisitions.


“In our view, most pharma firms’ current approaches for playing in new fields will not succeed—and companies have many difficult decisions to make,” Glorikian writes. “A big question is whether, in making those decisions, they will try to satisfy shareholders’ immediate needs or ensure long-term company health.”

Here’s a link to the complete blog:  Pharma in 2011: A Year for Big Decisions

–Anita M. Harris

Scientia Advisors, based in Boston and San Francisco,  is a management consulting firm specializing in growth strategies for major and emerging companies in health care, life science, biotechnology and nutrition. Scientia recently launched a practice  Pricing and Reimbursement/Market Access .

Anita Harris is president of the  Harris Communications Group— an award-winning marketing and public relations  firm in Cambridge, MA. HarrisCom also publishes New Cambridge Observer, a blog covering arts, sciences, business, politics and life in and around Cambridge, MA.

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The Harris Communications Group is pleased to present:

Branding for Startups and Emerging Companies: What, How, and Why for Busy Entrepreneurs.

A nuts and bolts workshop with Julianne Zimmerman, strategic consultant.

Moderated by Anita Harris, President, Harris Communications Group, and hosted by the Cambridge Innovation Center.

4 pm Thursday, December 9
Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway 4th floor, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA
Followed by networking at the Venture Cafe

The first in a series of workshop/seminars sponsored by the Harris Communications Group  at  the Cambridge Innovation Center

RSVP http://brandingforbusiness-harriscom.eventbrite.com/
Pre-registrants attending the workshop will be entered in a drawing to receive a complimentary hour of consulting with  Julianne Zimmerman or Anita Harris.

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Julianne Zimmerman provides high-value strategic guidance to entrepreneurs and executives of small and early-stage organizations.  She is an accomplished veteran of boutique and startup companies, with more than 20 years’ experience in technical, strategic, and communications leadership roles,www.juliannezimmerman.com or www.linkedin.com/in/juliannezimmerman .

Anita Harris, president of the Harris Communications Group, is an award-winning strategic communications consultant specializing in marketing communications, media relations and social media for emerging and established companies. www.harriscom.com.

Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) is the largest flexible office facility for growing technology and life sciences companies in the Greater Boston area.

The Venture Café, currently in its alpha stage, is in session each Thursday from 3-8pm. The cafe is a resource for the Boston entrepreneurial and innovation communities with the mission of creating fresh and useful conversations. As the Venture Cafe prepares to enter its permanent home in Kendall Square, the founders project that the marriage of innovation and creativity with a European-style cafe space will facilitate collaboration and build a greater sense of community in Kendall Square. www.venturecafe.net. Information: Carrie Stalder, Founding Manager for The Venture Café, 617-329-1324, carrie@venturecafe.net


Explaining how agencies charge for media outreach is always an interesting challenge. Most work on retainer (receiving a monthly fee in return for promised services). Some operate on a project basis, or charge an hourly fee. The other day, someone wrote in to Harvard-Startups, a list-serve to which I subscribe, asking if some public relations firms work on a “results” basis–that is, get paid only for coverage they obtain, not just hours.

I was impressed with a response from  Sylvia Scott, who has worked in public relations and is now  Creator & Director of Realizing A Vision Conference, Girl’s CEO Connection. She said it would be fine for me to share it, so here goes:

By “hours” do you mean paid by the hour? Most good ones are not paid on an hourly basis as the norm may be a specific number of hours devoted to you per month and the fee is determined by many variables.

Paid by results –well let’s see-an article in the New York Times may be valued at $10,000 for some companies. For others it may be more- if your PR firm gets you on Larry King vs. say GMA how would you differentiate. I got a client on Fox Morning show in San Diego-now
what would be the difference in fee from San Diego and say Chicago or Dallas? AND if you get editorial in the Tulsa World that is picked up by AP and then the article or or let’s say you get a call to be interviewed by the New York Times how do you pay for that?

Some results may take 3 months and then others 6 months-also, if the pitches are going on and accepted yet there is another scandal in the White House like it happened with Bill Clinton and the scheduled interview or placement is moved or forgotten-which is not the fault of the PR firm-are you going to not pay them for their work?

I know I did not answer you directly-just wanted you to see that “results” may not always be the same and some times one result leads to another even though no extra hours were put into place.

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I  chimed in  that the Public Relations Society of America Code of Ethics frowns on promising results that can’t be guaranteed, so most PR consultants won’t work with clients on a straight contingency basis. Because it can take three-to-six months to build relationships with reporters on clients’ behalf, I prefer to work on retainer. But I have occasionally worked on a project basis–charging a minimum fee to cover time and effort with a bonus for major media “hits”.

Media relations is a tricky business–especially in today’s shifting media landscape. If you’re hiring, I’d advise paying more attention to a PR consultant’s track record than to promises, plan on a six month minimum and, for that period, at least,  keep the faith.

—Anita M. Harris
Anita M. Harris is President of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.


 

David Carr and Michael Arrango report in today’s New York Times  that   the  board of directors of the Tribune Company is about to ask for the resignation of Randy Michaels, the controversial chief executive of the company–a move, in my view, that is long LONG overdue. Here’s why:
I couldn’t decide whether to cry or puke when I read David Carr’s Oct. 6 article on the situation at the Times Mirror Corporation since real  estate magnate Sam Zell purchased it for $8.2 B in 2007. Not only has the company filed for bankruptcy, slashed resources at the Tribune newspapers and television stations and let go more than 4200 employees–but it has fostered a culture hostile to women–and to journalism’s truth seeking role in the marketplace of ideas.

I interned Newsday (which was  a Times Mirror paper) in the mid-1970s where my first story, on the first women to enter the US Merchant Marine Corps, was changed to lead with the fact that the women succumbed to tears after being teased. I myself fielded a fair amount of sexist “humor” because, on the lifestyles beat, I covered women’s lib.

At Columbia Journalism School, a professor told me that women should not go into radio–because he didn’t “like the sound of their voices.”
Later, in another prestigious news outlet, I experienced sexual harrassment and pay discrimination.
Just as I was completing a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard,  a bigwig at a  TV network said not to bother applying for a job– referencing a need for “blondes with big bazooms” and a PBS producer wanted, for some reason, to discuss women drivers and menstruation.  At this point, I left TV news  to write and teach, hoping to help the next generation of women stand strong in/change the profession. 

 

That was almost 30 years ago. 

 

Today,  that TV program has a female executive producer and the network has hired some brunettes to cover wars, disasters, the White House–all sorts of major beats.   Women hold high office, serve on the Supreme Court, and  run  huge corporations.
Now a communications consultant, in my client work, I see male CEO’s struggling to share  childcare with  working wives and chastising 20-somethings for “unprofessional behavior” for making inappropriate jokes.  (True, I also see men “borrow” women’s scientific  findings without crediting them, refuse to promote female colleagues who refuse their advances,  and denigrate/sabotage women’s successes—but at least today men know that is wrong).

In his piece, Carr reports that Randy Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, was ” handpicked”  by Sam Zell, the Times Mirror’s new controlling shareholder,  to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs”.
After Mr. Michaels arrived, Carr writes, according to two people at the bar one night, “he sat down and said, ‘watch this,’” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. “ Carr learned from interviews with more than 20  past and current Chicago Tribune employees, that “Mr. Michaels’ and his executives’ use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective shocked and offended people throughout the company. Tribune Tower, [once]the architectural symbol of the staid company, came to resemble a frat house, complete with poker parties, juke boxes and pervasive sex talk.”

 

 

What is more, Carr points out, the company’s employee manual encourages such an atmosphere.  “’Working at Tribune means accepting that you might hear a word that you, personally, might not use…,'” it reads. “You might experience an attitude you don’t share. You might hear a joke that you don’t consider funny. That is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important to the creative process.’ It then added, ‘This should be understood, should not be a surprise and not considered harassment.’”

As I wrote in a letter to the New York Times,

 

OPINION | October 13, 2010
Letter:  The Troubled Tribune
I’m appalled and saddened by the irresponsible attitudes and actions of those now in command of a once respected, trustworthy pillar of the fourth estate.  Even if (especially if?) those in charge care more about making money than fulfilling their privileged societal watchdog role they must be subject to the same laws prohibiting sexual discrimination and harassment as are all other businesses across the land.

Anita M. Harris, Cambridge, MA
Anita Harris, president of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA,  is the author of Broken Patterns: Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity (Wayne State University Press, 1995).  A former journalist, she has reported for Newsday and the MacNeil-Lehrer Report (now the Newshour), and has taught journalism at Harvard, Yale and Tufts Universities, and at Simmons College.

 


I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I am a secret admirer of Building 19′s copywriters–whomever s/he/ they may be.

I have friends who won’t set foot in the bargain stores–which, according to the latest circular, were founded in 1964, when a ship originally sailed by Christopher Columbus finally arrived in Hingham.  (That does make you wonder how long some of their merchandise-aka “good stuff cheap”–has been lying around). And I admit–that even I, the penultimate bargain shopper–have been known to remark that you need to take a shower after you experience shopping there.

But how can you not be drawn in to a come-on like this:

WOULD YOU LIKE A HIGH POWERED CAREER IN ADVERTISING?

And not laugh when it goes on to say, “If so, this is not for you.”

(The ad, on the front page of Building 19’s October 8 flier, continues: …but if you want to work on the Building #19 circular in a fun atmosphere, rework a few pages from this circular and send them along with a resume (preferably yours) to Human Resources or email: hr@building19.com).

And how ’bout the ad for “Hat’s entertainment–(featuring Halloween hats such as Fuzzy Brim the Pirate, the Don Corleone  Straw, the Linda Blair special–featuring devil’s horns)?

And the one for Liz Claiborne II,  a second and  “brand new shipment” of Liz Claiborne shoes? It  includes pictures of “the ACTUAL  stickers from the boxes ” and a warning to “Hurry in to beat the madness, this time around.”

My point is that  in writing copy, you need to understand your audience and what will motivate them to get out there and buy your stuff.  Building 19 certainly does have the knack: its home page even features a link to its “Classic Ads.”   But enough of this.  Life is short and  I gotta go–those shoes won’t be there forever.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita M. Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, a marketing communications and public relations firm in Cambridge, MA.


Pharma execs with blockbuster drugs on the market should be up staying at night strategizing in case someone comes up with a “companion diagnostic” that the FDA requires before the blockbuster  can be prescribed.

So write Scientia Advisors authors Amit Agarwal and Jonathan Pan in “Theranostics and Already Approved Drugs: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You,” published in the 2010-2011 Parexel Yearbook.

Disclosure: Scientia is my client.

In the article, Agarwal, partner, and Pan, senior associate, describe the situation that led the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require warning labels and recommend diagnostic testing for the blockbuster drug Plavix more than 10 years after the anti-thrombotic hit the market.  Plavix is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis to prevent myocardiofaction (MI) or strokes.

As early as 2001, when Plavix had been on the market for four years, studies began to show that Plavix helped certain patients more than others, the authors write. By 2008, genetic testing by a competing pharmaceutical company showed that nearly one-third of Plavix users did not fully benefit from the drug.  Based on these and other trial results, in 2010 the FDA required that the manufacturers include a “black box” warning label and a diagnostic testing recommendation for the product.

In 2009, Plavix had worldwide sales of $9.5B including $5.6 B in the US. As a result of the FDA diagnostic testing recommendation, the authors project that by 2012, BMS and Sanofi Aventis will lose $450M to $575M in sales in the US alone– and more if regulators in other nations add requirements. “Given the need to maximize revenue in the face of generic competition across their portfolios, it is a significant amount to offset.” Other drugs, prescribed in conjunction with Plavix, will also most likely be impacted.

Agarwal and Pan recommend a number of actions that pharmaceutical executives can take to mitigate such potential post-launch losses.

  • Expand competitive landscape and threat assessment coverage to monitor the diagnostic environment for new research and clinical trials which could potentially impact the sales of marketed drugs
  • Upgrade skills, capabilities, reporting relationships and the organizational clout of the theranostic function
  • Develop organizational structures that allow knowledge of new biomarkers and clinical trials to reach commercial decision makers

Scientia Advisors’ article is available in the PAREXEL’s Bio/Pharma R&D Statistical Sourcebook 2010/2011 at Barnett Educational Services.

—Anita M. Harris, President, Harris Communications Group

Scientia Advisors, located in Boston and San Francisco, is a management consulting firm specializing in growth strategies for major and emerging companies in health care, life sciences, biotechnology and nutrition.

HarrisComBlog is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations and marketing communications firm in Cambridge, MA.


Ever wait anxiously for days to get the results of medical tests?  Such periods may eventually become passe as new methods for analyzing blood and other tests increasingly allow quick turnaround times in doctors offices, “rapid clinics,” and even in patients’ homes.

According to a new review of the global “point of care” testing industry released today by Scientia Advisors, a Cambridge, San Francisco strategy consulting firm (yes, my client!)–the market for point-of -care medical tests (those analyzed in close proximity to patients)–is growing at 8 per cent–and even faster for certain types of tests and in the developing world.

Harry Glorikian, Scientia’s managing partner, points out that this growth is fueled in part by a trend toward decentralization of health care—in which testing and treatment are migrating from hospital labs to settings such as emergency rooms, outpatient, doctor’s offices, rapid and urgent care clinics, and homes.

But, he points out,  “companies bringing point-of-care (POC) tests to market must consider not only accuracy, reliability and ease of use, but also the challenges of gaining clinical acceptance and meeting sometimes-onerous regulatory and reimbursement requirements.”

Based on primary and secondary research and proprietary analysis, Scientia projects that the POC testing market, which includes professional and over-the-counter segments, will experience compound annual growth of 8%, from $11.6B in 2008 to $18.4B through 2013 —with additional potential for growth in emerging economies.

While diabetes is the largest segment of the POC testing market, infectious disease testing, a smaller segment, has high growth potential due to (1) increasing awareness of public health problems such as flu, chlamydia and hospital-acquired infections (2) potential availability of disruptive, point-of-care molecular diagnostics and (3) increased adoption of POC testing in emerging markets.

Scientia also found that:

  • While the US is a major influencer in the global POC testing market, the developing world will experience the fastest growth—especially in China and India, where the governments plan to open thousands of rural clinics.
  • In the current economic slowdown, US retail giants such as CVS and Wal-Mart have closed many rapid clinics. As a result, rapid clinics may need new strategies, such as partnering with hospitals, to remain viable.
  • Next-generation, portable, easy-to-use technologies, which promise greater accuracy, convenience and clinical impact, will fuel the growth of many POC segments.
  • Stringent regulatory and reimbursement requirements and a need for pharmaco-economic studies remain barriers to widespread POC adoption in the US and abroad.

Scientia’s review, “The Point-of-Care Diagnostics Market: Growth Drivers and Challenges to Widespread Adoption”, is available for download at no cost at www.scientiaadv.com.

—Anita M. Harris

Harriscom blog is a publication of the  Harris Communications Group is a marketing communications and public relations firm located in Boston, MA.


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