At the first BioHaven of the season, CURE and Yale welcomed Dr. John LaMattina, former Senior Vice President of Pfizer Inc. and former President of Pfizer Global Research and Development. In that role, Dr. LaMattina oversaw the drug discovery and development efforts of over 12,000 colleagues in the United States, Europe and Asia. During his tenure as head of global R&D, Pfizer produced new treatments for cancer, smoking cessation, rheumatoid arthritis and AIDS. Dr. LaMattina spoke about how the major headwinds facing big pharma now, including lost revenues and decreased R&D productivity, ultimately affect all of us as patients. A significant aspect of the challenging new environment has been due to M&A activity, which have resulted in overall loss of jobs and significant cuts to R & D spending at pharma. Dr. LaMattina spoke about how fewer companies will result in fewer entries per therapeutic class and fewer new medicines overall as compounds are divested after portfolio restructuring. Further, the current FDA requirements are focused on outcomes. These type of phase 3 outcomes studies can take 3 to 5 years and cost $100 to $500 million. In addition, any drug anticipated for chronic lifetime use needs long-term safety data in humans (e.g. anti-inflammatory medicines). As Dr. LaMattina pointed out, new medicines must be significantly better than generics (or soon to be generics) to be reimbursed. To wrap up, Dr. LaMattina gave a prescription for pharma with the following points:
1.Make all payments by pharma to healthcare professionals completely transparent.
2.Make all clinical trial data more immediately available by better enforcing the law that data must be recorded at the FDA
3.Stop the illegal detailing of drugs
4.Drop the TV ads as a drug selling tool
5.Use scientists as ambassadors to best tell the story about a new drugs discovery and development
By Amogh Sivarapatna
Business Development Associate, CURE