Five things for pharma marketers to know: Wednesday, February 22, 2017



1. A now defunct partnership between the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and IBM Watson is becoming a cautionary tale for how not to integrate the supercomputer into a hospital system. An audit conducted by the university said the cancer center mishandled $62 million in funding, ignored its own IT experts, and did not follow basic procedures for contracts and invoices. IBM pulled support for the partnership in September. (Ars Technica)

2. Activist investor Carl Icahn took a stake in Bristol-Myers Squibb after the company announced three new directors to its board and repurchased $2 billion of its own stock. Icahn is known for pushing drugmakers to make deals. (WSJ)

3. Sarepta Therapeutics agreed to sell its rare pediatric disease priority review voucher — as part of a program that allows drugmakers to receive a priority review for a drug of their choosing — for $125 million to Gilead Sciences. This is the third priority review voucher Gilead has acquired. (GEN)

4. Actors, personifying stomach disorders and mucus, are embracing the quirkiness of their roles in pharma advertising. Ilana Becker, an actor who plays Irritabelle in Allergan's ad for its irritable bowel syndrome drug Viberzi, also does appearances at gastroenterology conferences for the drugmaker. (Ad Age)

5. A new German study suggests that post-marketing drug studies, used by the FDA and other regulators to evaluate a drug's safety in the real world, do not improve drug safety surveillance. The studies' authors argued that the studies are too small to detect rare side effects and physicians are often required to keep the results confidential, limiting their impact. (Reuters)