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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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December 19, 2011

Deals of the Year in Biopharma (Bonus: Names That Can't Happen)

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Posted by Derek

Over at InVivoBlog, they're running down their picks for "Deal of the Year" in various categories, so if that's one of your interests, you should have a look. I hadn't realized that when Abbott split off their pharma business that the blog had run a poll suggesting a new name for the drug company. The winner? Costello.

Too bad it won't happen. Reality also interfered with Bayer a few years back when they were introducing Levitra, their Viagra competitor (and very close chemical cousin). Alas, the name "Bayagra" was not seriously considered - that would have been fun to watch. . .

Comments (11) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Sleepless in SSF on December 19, 2011 9:11 AM writes...

Derek must have had close contact with Bayer during his career. Most of the non-chemists (and I suspect some of the chemists) reading this are thinking "WTF? Bay-agra doesn't rhyme with Vi-agra".

And -- Costello is the greatest pharma name ever. Let's figure out a way to lobby for it.

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2. petros on December 19, 2011 9:17 AM writes...

Bayer loved using Bay in the tradenames of drugs,

Lipobay, Baychol etc.

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3. CMCguy on December 19, 2011 10:38 AM writes...

The way Abbott's often done R&D its probably been more like a comedy act than a true drug discovery outfit.

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4. Chemjobber on December 19, 2011 10:39 AM writes...

Does anyone know the story behind Levitra/Viagra? How did this get past somebody at Pfizer and/or their lawyers? I mean, it's practically the same molecule.

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5. ex-Pfizerite on December 19, 2011 12:04 PM writes...

Look at the patent claims ....

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6. Miles White on December 19, 2011 3:15 PM writes...


It's why I'm splitting them off!

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7. Biotechtranslated on December 19, 2011 4:35 PM writes...

Funny story about Levitra/Cialis/Viagra.

GSK was partnered with ICOS when they discovered Cialis, but GSK decided to abandon the partnership since erectile dysfunction was outside their "therapeutic area" focus.

The market potential of a new treatment for ED quickly became apparent as Pfizer developed Viagra.

Lilly was a little smarter than GSK and snapped up the ICOS molecule and eventually acquired ICOS.

GSK was left with egg on their face (I wonder what happen to the guy/gal who said "no thanks" to ICOS?), so they quickly entered in to the co-marketing agreement with SP/Bayer so that they didn't look stupid standing on the side-line while every other company cashed in.

I'm sure after that fiasco GSK's out-licensing program got a careful once-over!


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8. Waliwuu on December 20, 2011 12:20 AM writes...

In an amusing linguistic side note, in Filipino, the word "Bayagra" is a common pun and pronunciation of Viagra. Since "bayag" is a word that refers to the organ that Viagra acts upon.

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9. KillBill on December 20, 2011 2:06 PM writes...

#7 It gets even sillier. Look up the original patent for Cialis. Yup. Glaxo France were the inventors. Given away to Icos because in the immortal words of Sir Richard Sykes "We don't make lifestyle drugs".

(But we DO co-market them)

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10. WB on December 21, 2011 12:19 AM writes...

@4. #5 is correct, the patent team for Pfizer messed up big time and they didn't cover sufficient chemical space in their claim. The Bayer people found their own structure wasn't covered by the Pfizer patent, and filed their own.

Some people have entire careers now on patent-busting....

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11. Ricardo Rodriges on December 21, 2011 5:21 AM writes...

Still remember the screams of some colleagues regarding Vardenafil, never heard the end of the story (heads rolled?).

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