06Jun

When Actavis acquired Forest Labs in 2014 it chose to rebrand the products under its own, better known name. That rebranding decision helped Actavis expand the reach of Forest Labs’ products, especially those in women’s health and gastroenterology.

That example is one of the most successful merger rebrandings in a study from the brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance.

Researching the results of 3,000 mergers and acquisitions since 2014, Brand Finance found 21% resulted in a rebranding, typically of the acquired company’s products. Of all the industries, pharma was the most prolific – and financially successful – in rebranding.

The report says pharmaceutical companies rebranding 31% of the acquired companies. Most of the time the rebranding decision was made because the acquiring company had the stronger name. Sometimes, as when Eli Lilly acquired Novartis Animal Health, it was to avoid brand confusion.

Alex Haigh, Brand Finance valuation director, told FiercePharma, “Pharmaceutical companies tend to be very experienced in mergers and acquisitions. Of the eight companies with the most rebranded acquisitions, three are pharmaceutical companies — Allergan, Lilly and Roche.

“Companies which are experienced in integrating acquisitions tend to be more likely to rebrand and have better results.”

Compared to M&A rebrandings in other sectors, pharma’s are significantly better. The report found pharma had a first year return of 13.8%. Only telecoms and the tech sector had positive first year returns on their rebrandings.

“The success of rebranding strongly depends on sector,” the report observes. “For example, in pharmaceuticals, where acquisitions generally have not built strong brands but acquirers have, rebrands are highly successful.”

“Superior marketing and client networks of the larger players lend themselves to the trend to rebrand for this reason. Also, since there are often positive reputational benefits from new drug development, rebranding can help wider business performance through association.”

Illustrating this point, the Brand Finance reports points to Roche, citing the big pharma firm for its “flexible rebranding strategy.” Roche rebranded its acquisition of three smaller firms — Ignyta, Intermune and Seragon.

But Roche retained the separate brands Flatiron, a medical technology company, and the molecular insights company Foundation Medicine because each already had an established client base and strong name recognition.

Actavis itself is a rebranding poster child. A year after completing the acquisition of Forest Labs, Actavis bought Allergan adopting the name of the acquired company, rolling it out slowly and geographically.

Last month, AbbVie completed its $63 billion acquisition of Allergan and retired the name.

Photo by Stephen Foster on Unsplash

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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

You Don’t Have to Be a Scientist to Have a Life Sciences Career

Curious about a career in the life sciences industry, but you’re not a scientist? Don’t let that discourage you. Pharmaceutical companies have thousands of jobs in a variety of areas that don’t require biology or other science background.

The challenge for new entrants is that recruiters look for great talent with relevant experience. Whether you’re a recent or upcoming grad or a mid-career professional wanting to change industries, it’s up to you to show how your background and the experience you have is relevant. That means showing how your skills are transferable.

For example, an accountant who helped develop sales projections for a new product or territory may be able to demonstrate how the research and analysis that went into the report applies in the pharmaceutical world. A marketer with lead generation experience should explain how that can help the company expand sales.

Biospace has a primer on using skills and experience in other jobs to open career opportunities in the life sciences sector. The advice is basic, yet what it lacks in specifics it makes up for in providing direction.

For starters, Biospace counsels to “Get clear on what your transferable skills are.” As commonsense as that is, so many job seekers will start by simply updating an existing resume.

Don’t!

First become knowledgeable about the skills important to life sciences and pharmaceutical firms. Inventory the skills you’ve developed and your experience, listing those most relevant and transferable.

“Some suggestions to consider,” says the article, ”Are research, analysis, data analysis, problem solving, communication, time management, communication (written and verbal), planning, strategizing, team management, project management, presenting, conflict resolution, collaboration and training.”

Then “Come up with examples from your past job roles and duties.” Finally, “Include accomplishments that emphasize the transferable skills.”

Now you’re ready to revise your resume to highlight those skills and show how they will benefit the company.

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Green Key
Jun 6, 2023

Llamas Could Help Prevent COVID Infections

Could a cure for COVID-19 come from llamas?.

Researchers are guarded in their optimism, but in a paper for the journal Cell, they report using a type of antibody called a nanobody produced by llamas to develop a treatment that prevents the virus from invading human cells.

Scientists have long known that llamas and other camelids not only produce antibodies like those made by humans but also create a much smaller, second type, called nanobodies.

Research on these nanobodies began several years ago, when scientists at University of Texas at Austin, the National Institutes of Health and Ghent University in Belgium began studying how they might be used to fight other coronaviruses.

From a llama named Winter, they harvested nanobodies she had produced in response to virus proteins they exposed her to. The results against SARS CoV-1 were effective. Since SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is so similar, they used copies of those llama nanobodies to engineer an antibody to fight it.

Tested against the virus in laboratory cultures, it proved effective. Now they are testing it on rodents and primates. If it works there, the next step would be human trials.

“This is one of the first antibodies known to neutralize SARS-CoV-2,” said Jason McLellan, associate professor of molecular biosciences at UT Austin and co-senior author.

“Vaccines have to be given a month or two before infection to provide protection,” McLellan said. “With antibody therapies, you’re directly giving somebody the protective antibodies and so, immediately after treatment, they should be protected. The antibodies could also be used to treat somebody who is already sick to lessen the severity of the disease.”

Because nanobodies are so small – about a quarter the size of human antibodies – treatment could be delivered by inhalation.

Observed Daniel Wrapp, a graduate student in McLellan’s lab and a co-author of the paper, “That makes them potentially really interesting as a drug for a respiratory pathogen because you’re delivering it right to the site of infection.”   

Photo by Chris on Unsplash 

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