Press review

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Success of Danish parallel importer Abacus based on data analysis

BERLIN, 5 Oct (APM) - The success of Danish parallel importer Abacus is based on data analysis, chief executive Flemming Wagner told Handelsblatt on Tuesday (p44).
Abacus has developed its own IT system to analyse the prices of the 2,800 drugs in its portfolio in real time in the 28 EU markets. The company continuously reviews the markets for buying and selling opportunities and monitors price levels, transport costs and exchange rate fluctuations, Wagner said.
Abacus's other specificity is to market drugs in 12 countries, while competitors Orifarm and Kohl Pharma focus on less countries and target high-priced drugs.
To further finance its growth, Abacus is planning to raise about €40 million from its flotation on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (APMHE 59938), reported Handelsblatt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Tuesday (p22).
Sales rose by 42% to €253 million euros in 2017.

Curevac wants to market own products

German biotech Curevac wants to market its own products and therefore to become a pharma company, founder and head of supervisory board Ingmar Hoerr told FAZ on Tuesday (p22).
This might happen with the launch of a rabies vaccine, based on messenger RNA, which is planned for the beginning of the 2020s.
Hoerr left his CEO position in June and joined the supervisory board so that U.S. manager Daniel Menichella could take up the CEO post and further expand Curevac's American expertise.

Fresenius wins ruling on Akorn deal

A U.S. court has said that German group Fresenius was allowed to pull out of €4.75 billion acquisition deal with U.S. generics manufacturer Akorn, causing Fresenius shares to rise briefly by more than 10%, Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) wrote on Tuesday (p21) (APMHE 59951).
Akorn, whose shares dropped 57% on Monday, announced an appeal and wants to enforce the deal that has been called a mistake for Fresenius, FAZ reported on Tuesday (p24).

Stada to be delisted from German stock market

Shares of generic and over-the-counter drug maker Stada will soon disappear from the German stock exchange after almost 21 years, wrote FAZ on Tuesday (p22) and Die Welt (p15) (APMHE 59959).
Buyout groups Bain Capital and Cinven, who took control of Stada in 2017, will offer to buy the remainder of the stock at about €81.83 euros a share.

Continuity at Pfizer

Albert Bourla, who was appointed to succeed Ian Read as Pfizer's CEO, is a guarantee of continuity for the U.S. pharma company, wrote Handelsblatt on Tuesday (p47) (APMHE 59940).
Bourla, who joined Pfizer in 1993, has been working closely with Read as chief operating officer.
His greatest challenge will be to get drug candidates to market or, alternatively, to buy new assets.
Read was unsuccessful in two major takeovers, on AstraZeneca with a $118 billion bid and Allergan with a $160 billion offer, FAZ highlighted on Tuesday (p22).

Pharma industry pays a lot for genetic data

Pharma companies spend a lot of money to get genetic data by either investing in their own laboratories or buying the data from biotechs, Wirtschaftswoche reports on Friday (p66-69).
Roche has already set up specialised laboratories in Bavaria to collect and analyse genetic cancer samples (APMHE 53813).
Biotech 23andme, which provides genetic testing kits to healthy people to learn about their ancestry, is also collecting data. It has signed a four-year exclusive agreement with GlaxoSmithKline worth $400 million (APMHE 59062) after delivering data to Biogen and Pfizer for several trials.
Chinese biotech iCarbonX is building up the biggest patient data registry, using artificial intelligence to identify rare diseases or cancer in genetic data, Wirtschaftswoche writes.
U.S. startup DNAsimple brings together researchers and potential trial participants by collecting their genetic data, cataloguing them, and offering them anonymously. U.S. startup Nebula Genomics is providing a similar service but without even saving participants' data, since it uses blockchain technology to administer access rights.

Mail-order pharmacies bigger than any German pharmacy

Mail-order pharmacies DocMorris and Shop Apotheke, which have moved their headquarters from Germany to the Netherlands, each have about 3 million customers and predicted sales of €500 million in 2018 - more than any pharmacy in Germany, Wirtschaftswoche writes on Friday (p54-56).
Both companies are preparing for Amazon's pharmacy department upcoming entry on the European market. A Munich pharmacy is already pulling together deliveries of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and cosmetic products for Amazon customers.
OTC drugs already sold by many German pharmacies via Amazon marketplace are estimated at €120 million, Wirtschaftswoche says.

Nobel prizes for developers of artificial antibodies, cancer immunotherapies

U.S. researcher George Smith and British biochemist Gregory Winter, who are two of the three 2018 chemistry Nobel Prize winners, invented and developed the technique of "phage display of peptides and antibodies" that produced artificial antibodies such as world best-selling drug Abbvie's Humira (adalimumab), SZ wrote on Thursday (p14).
U.S. scientist James Allison and Japanese researcher Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel prize in medicine for their work on cancer immunotherapies, one of the fastest-growing segments of pharma, Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday (p21) (APMHE 59948).
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