Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, April 16, 2018

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Shire has agreed to sell its oncology business to French drugmaker Servier for $2.4 billion, which could make it a more affordable acquisition target for Takeda. Even after the sale, a deal could be expensive for Takeda: Shire could be valued at as much as $50 billion, a huge price tag for the Japanese pharmaceutical company whose own market value is about $37 million. (Bloomberg)

Bristol-Myers Squibb is collaborating with DNA sequencing gear maker Illumina to develop diagnostic tests to support Bristol's cancer portfolio. Tests will measure potentially predictive biomarkers, such as tumor mutation burden. Other targets include MSI-H/dMMR and LAG-3. (Forbes)

Two weeks after rejecting Alkermes' depression drug, the FDA has reversed its decision and accepted the application. With two failed trials, the drug was far from a sure bet. The FDA's reversal, which was not based on any additional data or analyses, symbolizes a broader shift in the agency's standards for drug applications and reviews. (Endpoints)

Martin Sorrell has stepped down as chief executive of WPP after an investigation into his personal conduct. With Sorrell gone, some analysts expect shareholders will break up the company because some of its divisions, notably health and digital, are worth more than the share price. (MM&M)

An entire industry has spawned around convincing women to have (often unnecessary) surgeries. The system is based on scaring or coaxing women into getting procedures that will make them more lucrative plaintiffs in lawsuits against medical device manufacturers. It involves lawyers, marketers, banks, and doctors, all of whom get a cut. (New York Times)

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