M2Gen, the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), and pharma companies are teaming up on a new way to bring clinical trials to advanced-stage cancer patients. This partnership, the ORIEN Avatar Research Program, will generate information on cancer patients, including the molecular characteristics of their cancers. Why is this important? Multiple reasons. Patients win by receiving increased access to new trials and new treatments. Pharma wins by creating a large database of patient information to analyze in the pursuit of personalized cancer treatments and having the ability to match patients to trials, cutting patient recruitment timelines and costs.
In November, Pfizer and Allergan announced a plan to merge. Pfizer would pay Allergan $160 Billion and Pfizer would get to reap the tax benefits of Allergan’s Irish HQ (Ireland is a very tax-friendly place for corporations). But last week, the two companies have said “never mind” to the whole thing. This is a big win for President Obama, who wasn’t thrilled with the idea of US companies wriggling out of the tax system. The termination of this deal might also serve as a warning for other companies who were planning something similar.
The Canadian drug maker has asked its outgoing CEO, J. Michael Pearson, to cooperate with a U.S. Senate investigation into drug pricing. Pearson failed to appear for a deposition, but *should* appear at an April 27th hearing. Valeant, who built its business buying older drugs and raising their prices – not a popular business model these days – faces three federal probes into its business practices. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about drug pricing and the U.S. Senate (remember Turing Pharmaceuticals?) And, it won’t be the last time either.