Lundbeck needs to buy to avoid deepening crisis

By Mike Nagle

- Last updated on GMT

In a refreshingly honest interview with a Danish newspaper, the
Lundbeck CEO has admitted his company is in crisis and needs to
restock its pipeline to avoid making it any worse.

The pharma firm has been rocked by a series of drug failures and its revenues will be sapped once its leading drug, Cipralex/Lexapro (escitalopram), begins to lose patent protection in 2012. That drug made over DKK 3.5bn (€2.6bn) for Lundbeck in 2006, which was over a third of its total revenue (DKK 9.2bn) According to Reuters, Claus Braestrup told the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten: "It's definitely not a catastrophe or a deep crisis. But a crisis, yes." He explained that Lundbeck is willing to buy in individual drugs or even acquire whole companies to relieve the pressure on its pipeline. He said: "I have told the organisation that if there is a drug that fits and that we can buy for a fair price, we must bloody well have it." He then reportedly went on to say that Anders Gotzsche, Lundbeck's new chief financial officer, will try to re-structure the organisation such that, if the possibility of an acquisition arose, it could pursue it. At the end of May, Lundbeck announced that desmoteplase​ its candidate drug given in the immediate aftermath of an acute ischemic stroke, was no more effective than placebo. The drug is based on a clot-dissolving protein found in the saliva of the vampire batDesmodus rotundusand was designed to bind to fibrin. In-licensing deals are nothing new to Lundbeck; the company has signed over 20 such agreements over the past few years from other firms such as​ Garching Innovation, Paion, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Pharmexa, Merck & Co. and Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Those deals covered a range of different therapeutic categories including sleep disorders, stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

Related topics: Preclinical Research

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