Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, February 20
The FDA has given 23andMe the OK to sell its Bloom Syndrome genetic test to consumers. The condition is a rare genetic disorder associated with symptoms including short stature and dilated blood vessels on the face, which WebMD describes as creating a butterfly-like pattern. The approval represents an about-face for the company in that the FDA slapped 23andMe with a 2013 warning letter that required the Google-backed company to stop marketing its Personal Genome Service. The regulator said at the time that service claims—which included the service's potential medical uses—needed premarket vetting. This week's approval also included a note that the FDA plans to exempt carrier-screening tests from premarket review.
As recapped by the WSJ and reported by Reuters, drugmakers are kicking around a pay-for-performance payment scheme for costly medications. Rare disease drug company BioMarin and biotech Sangamo BioSciences are among the companies that have come together to figure out ways to make potentially costly gene therapies available to patients. Sangamo's CEO tells Reuters that the idea is that payments would be spread over time and stop if the drug is not working. Reuters notes that this model is being considered because the therapies being contemplated may come with an upfront cost, such as the $1 million price attached to Glybera, a gene therapy that has been approved in Europe.
Bayer and diabetes may be breaking up. Sources tell Reuters that a sale is not imminent, but the wire service notes that this would mark the second time since 2012 that the German company has tried to offload its Contour blood-glucose monitor business. Reuters explains that a tight market and reimbursement issues have fueled the company's move to sell and that Panasonic Healthcare has reportedly been talking about a deal for some time.
Bayer exec Olivier Brandicourt is Sanofi's new CEO as of April 2. The Pfizer / Parke-Davis vet and physician replaces Chris Viehbacher who was fired in October after clashes with the executive board and his announcement that discounting would idle sales growth of its diabetes category this year. Bloomberg notes that Brandicourt's tenure at Pfizer included the launch of the blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor, and his arrival at Sanofi will put him in a position to oversee a push into to PCSK9 race against Amgen.
Ad agency Greater Than One has named Pamela Pinta and Gregory Gross partners. Pinta, GTO's chief account and strategic officer, joined GTO in 2012 after a Managing Directors stint at Euro RSCG Life Chelsea. Goss, GTO's executive creative director for content, joined up in 2013. His background includes time at Publicis and Omnicom.