As ever, we will need to keep an eye on this — but it would seem that the “new normal” — even in the largest of the multi-national pharmas’ pipelines — will be to spread the risk, and share the returns, on the iffier “second in class/line” new drug candidates.
That is, even big pharma will be less likely to “go it alone” — when banking on a misfire in a competitor’s class of next-gen candidates. [And yes — I suppose I should admit it, out loud — I am saying that Pfizer may now view its ertugliflozin R&D program as no longer “first in the class” of the next gen candidates for type 2 diabetes management.]
Even so, this could be pretty good news for Merck’s Januvia® franchise, as it might extend the life of that agent — and stave off the next gen competition for a year or two.
In any event, here is a bit of this morning’s Reuters story on it — do go read it all:
. . . .Pfizer has so far received $60 million in upfront and milestone payments and will be eligible for additional payments associated with clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones.
Merck and Pfizer will share potential revenue and certain costs on a 60/40 percent basis, the companies said.
Merck and Pfizer will collaborate on the development and marketing of ertugliflozin and ertugliflozin-containing fixed-dose combinations with metformin, a common diabetes treatment, and Merck’s Januvia tablets. . . .
Do stay tuned. UPDATED: Gratifyingly, it would seem that the take of the well-regarded maven, Ed Silverman, over at Pharmalot, on this news, agrees with mine — and independently, so — I might add. So, I’d call that definitive.