les Nouvelles - March 2006

In-Licensing Promising Discontinued Pharmaceutical Products From Large Companies: Finding That “Rembrandt” In The Attic

Michael J. Martin

Small pharmaceutical companies are always looking for that “diamond in the rough.” That “undiscovered research asset” which the large pharmaceutical company has discontinued or somehow ignored may represent a significant marketing opportunity for a small pharmaceutical company. Perpetuating this phenomena within the pharmaceutical business are recent ”in-licensing” success stories for “small” pharmaceuticals companies, such as Imclone, “Erbitux”—oncology treatment; Adolor, “Entreg”—an acute care hospital treatment; Actelion, “Tracleer” for congestive heart failure; CV Therapeutics, “Aceon” for hypertension, Forest Laboratories, “Celexa”—depression and The Medicines Company, “Angiomax,” an anti-thrombolytic therapy. The common denominator for these products is that they were in-licensed from larger companies and are now marketed or near approval. The market capitalizations of these small organizations often exceed $1 billion and the collective revenues of these in-licensed products exceed $3 billion. Such success stories breed many new pharmaceutical entrepreneurs with venture capital backing salivating for such opportunities.

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