The Burrill Weekly Brief | April 21, 2014The Rise in Drug Spending and What It Means Podcast: Ap
The Rise in Drug Spending and What It Means
Podcast: April 21, 2014
Reduced patent expirations, the introduction of the largest number of new drugs in a decade, and growing use of healthcare services helped increase total U.S. spending on drugs in 2013 by 3.2 percent, according to a new report from IMS Institute for Health Informatics. We spoke to the Institute's Executive Director Murray Aitken about the report, what it tells us about the biopharmaceutical industry's ability to bring innovative therapies to market, and the evolving debate of the cost and benefits of these new drugs.
BY THE NUMBERS
Biotechs reverse downward trend
Biotech stocks rose during the short week before Easter after steadily loosing ground for almost a month. The drop was partly due to a general market correction among growth stocks and also to rising concern over high drug prices, especially for many biotech drugs, such as Gilead Sciences' oral hepatitis C pill Sovaldi. Though the drug at $84,000 for a treatment regimen is not as pricey as many other biotech drugs, the patient population waiting to get access to it is much, much bigger, with an estimated 3.2 million people afflicted with the disease in the United States alone.
Most experts expect Sovaldi to be a blockbuster for Gilead, and first quarter earnings for the biotech will be out next week, as will earnings for other big biotechs, among them Amgen, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Biogen Idec, and Celgene.
The Burrill Biotech Index gained 3.2 percent for the week, with the biggest movement coming from Alexion Pharmaceuticals (up 7.3 percent), BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (up 6.4 percent), and Gilead Sciences and Biogen Idec (each up 6 percent).
Wall Street also saw gains ahead of corporate earnings reports for many companies and several leading economic indicators to be released in the coming week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite each gained 2.4 percent for the week and the S&P 500 finished the week up 2.7 percent.
BURRILL SELECT INDEX MARKET MOVERS FOR THE WEEK ENDING APRIL 18, 2014
Includes life sciences stocks with movement greater than 5 percent
Privately Held Life Sciences Companies Raise $1.5B so Far in April
Biotechs rake in $188 million in series B cash in short week before Easter.
Though Wall Street is turning cautious on biotech, privately held life sciences companies are experiencing a boon in funding for their projects. Almost $1.5 billion in new capital has been committed to these companies during the first three weeks of April, with $1.2 billion of that raised by U.S. companies and almost $1 billion raised globally by companies developing therapeutics, diagnostics, and life sciences tools and technology.
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940.55 940.55 3.2% 1.8%
Burrill Large-Cap 1165.34 1143.01 1143.01 3.4%
Burrill Mid-Cap 537.96 497.33 497.33
Burrill Small-Cap 143.25 206.60 206.60 -4.2%
Burrill Diagnostics 215.62 222.47 222.47 1.2%
Burrill Personalized Medicine 150.29 163.75 163.75 0.6%
NASDAQ 4176.59 3999.73 3999.73 2.4%
DJIA 16576.66 16026.75 16026.75 2.4%
S&P 500 1848.36 1815.69 1815.69 2.7%
Amex Biotech 2330.43 2374.30 2374.30 3.0% 5.0%
Amex Pharmaceutical 468.07 481.22 481.22
NASDAQ Biotechnology Index 2369.53 2251.53 2251.53 3.1%
The annual rebalance of the Burrill Indices took place on October 1, 2013.
Comparative Effectiveness Studies of Cancer Drugs Is Costly
NCI researchers say high cost of some drugs makes it difficult to assess them against cheaper treatments.
As the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, or ASCO, prepares to rate cancer drugs not only on effectiveness and safety but also on cost of treatment, two researchers from the National Cancer Institute published a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine noting that the price of some cancer drugs are so high that they prevent "comparative effectiveness trials that would seek to establish equally effective but cheaper alternatives."
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Pfizer and AstraZeneca Tema with Cancer Research UK to Advance Personalized Medicine
Researchers will have access to pharmas' drug libraries, testing several drugs at same time in lung cancer trial.
A partnership among pharmaceutical powerhouses AstraZeneca and Pfizer and the not-for-profit Cancer Research UK will take a novel approach to testing targeted cancer drugs in a pioneer clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer.
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Scripps Initiative Nabs J & J Innovation as First Collaborator
Program aims to translate promising early-stage research into clinical candidates.
The Scripps Research Institute launched Scripps Advance, a new drug discovery initiative to translate early-stage biomedical research projects, both internally and externally generated, into clinical development candidates. And it has partnered with the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in Menlo Park, California to jumpstart the effort.
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