Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Sign That Big Pharma Could Recognize the Low-Hanging RNAi Therapeutics Fruits

It was with much amusement and head-shaking disbelief that I read the Li et al. paper oncancer RNAi Therapeutics  development from Abbott.   The amusement stemmed from the fact that in the paper, the authors had come to the obvious conclusion: current technologies should allow you to develop real-world therapeutics based on the RNAi platform if only you judiciously combine the delivery platform with the right target and indication.  Duh…

As such, Abbott is representative of the various Big Pharma companies that guttered in-house RNAi Therapeutics development as they chose to only see the challenges instead of realizing the obvious opportunities.  Even those still in the game like Merck have long liked to go around and teach everyone how super-diligent, but super-slow their RNAi Therapeutics game strategy was. 

As RNAi Therapeutics have created market values at lightning speed (Alnylam now at a market cap of $3.5 billion), not based on just hype, but based on paths well-trodden by orphan drug companies, I expect more and more Big Pharmas to re-think their strategies.  Maybe even listen to this blogger who has always advocated a pipeline strategy that is based on where your delivery technologies can go to, instead of the traditional cart-before-the-ox-I-want-the-next-blockbuster-pill wishful thinking by people who may have risen to the corporate tops in companies like Coca Cola.
  
C’mon scientists from Merck, Novartis, and Takeda.  Inside yourself is an innovator that finally wants to see how your technology performs in humans.  Instead of just focusing on what could go wrong, don’t you also have an obligation to address diseases of high unmet medical need? And if not you, then who is going to transform your organization into a dynamic science-driven one that you can identify with as a scientist?  On a more practical level, I cannot see how many of you will be with your present employer in 2-3 years if you don’t have the goods to show.  Look at what happened to your peers from AstraZeneca whose last job it was to look for partnership in the more innovative pure-play RNA Therapeutics space before they were given the boot. 

6 comments:

tettrazini said...

Perhaps Roche should jump back in the RNAi game and buy Arrowhead. Of course such a move, even if it made sense, would be too embarrassing to consider.

Anonymous said...

or exercise their existing negotiation rts and license 520

Latebloomer said...

Someone brought up Roche in the March webcast, and ARWR's deal with Roche was clarified. The only thing they are obligated to do with Roche is to come to them first when they are ready to seek out a partner (or other similar options) so that Roche can make the first offer. ARWR is then free to garner offers from any other company (or to continue independently). They just can't take any other offer lower than whatever may be offered by Roche.

Latebloomer said...

(cont) The above has to do with ARC520 in particular and what ARWR is required to do as part of their deal with Roche.

Anonymous said...

Dirk - You seem to have a negative bias towards big pharmaceutical companies. Why are you so subjective and jaded?

Dirk Haussecker said...

It's not a bias. Big Pharma has largely been an embarrassment when it comes to developing RNAi Therapeutics. It seems that the size is one factor putting them at a disadvantage in a fast-moving technology. That's OK. What I begrudge, however, is their herd-chasing mentality and often arrogant public comments with regard to the technology. I feel most sorry for their bench-level scientists.

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