May 17, 2020

Pfizer is set to overhaul its overall operating healthcare model  

Pfizer
Innovation
pharmaceutical
pharmaceutical
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Pharmaceutical giant has announced its decision to divide the company into three separate businesses. Whilst one will become a science-based Innovative...

Pharmaceutical giant has announced its decision to divide the company into three separate businesses. Whilst one will become a science-based Innovative Medicines division, encompassing biosimilars and a new hospital business unit for anti-infectives and sterile injectables; the second will become an off-patent branded and generic Established Medicines business operating with substantial autonomy within Pfizer and its Consumer Healthcare business.

“This new structure represents a natural evolution given the ongoing strength of our in-market products and our late-stage pipeline and the expected significant reduction in the impact of patent protection losses post-2020 following the loss of exclusivity for Lyrica in the US,” explained Ian Read, Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

“As we transition to a period post-2020 where we expect a higher and more sustained revenue growth profile we see this new structure better positioning each business to achieve its growth potential.”

Whilst Pfizer’s Innovative Medicines business will encompass all the company’s Innovative Health business units as well as a new Hospital Medicines business unit which will commercialise its global portfolio of sterile injectable and anti-infective medicines, this will allow for better focus and customer centricity.

Additionally, Pfizer will also incorporate its biosimilar portfolio into its Oncology and Inflammation & Immunology business units.

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With a global, ageing population, increased demands for new innovative medicines and advancing biological science continue to deliver breakthrough solutions.  Pfizer’s new  pipeline will therefore enable it to remain a key player within this competitive industry.  

Its Established Medicines business will encompass the majority of Pfizer’s off-patent solid oral dose legacy brands, such as Lipitor and Norvasc, as well as a number of generic medicines. The move will enable the business to gain speed and flexibility, and enhance its autonomy and position as a stand-alone business.

Following on from ageing populations, urbanisation and the rise of the middle class in emerging markets, particularly in Asia, are providing additional access opportunities and generating significant demand for branded and generic established medicines. As a leading pharmaceutical company in Asia and particularly in China, Pfizer is in prime position.

“This design gives us a sharper focus on diverse patients in diverse markets,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chief Operating Officer. “The structure will enable the Established Medicines business to optimise its distinct growth opportunities, while also providing the future flexibility to access opportunities that enhance value.” 

Lastly, its Consumer Healthcare (PCH) business will include all of Pfizer’s over-the-counter medicines.

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Jul 28, 2021

5 mins with... Johannes Bhakdi, Quantgene

COVID19
Genomics
AI
biotechnology
3 min
5 mins with... Johannes Bhakdi, Quantgene
Johannes Bhakdi, CEO of Quantgene, tells us about their approach to identifying new COVID-19 variants

Quantgene is a US biotech company that uses AI and the cloud to do genomic testing. It was founded in 2015 to focus on cancer - integrating advanced genomics and molecular diagnostics systems with the cloud and AI systems. 

CEO Johannes Bhakdi tells us Quantgene is the first COVID-19 testing company to fully integrate variant identification - we find out more. 

Given the new Delta and Lambda variants, is the coronavirus mutating at a faster rate than most viruses?
 
The reason SARS-COV2 is mutating on a perceived higher rate is not that the individual viruses mutate at a higher rate, but that the base population infected with the virus is vastly higher. The absolute rate of global mutations is a direct function of how many people have the virus at any given point in time. Since this is a global pandemic, and tens of millions have been infected, we see more mutations. 

That makes it more unpredictable, because any single mutation that has an evolutionary advantage - like the Delta variant - can then take over and spread even faster.  

What is the usual process for testing and analysing viral mutations? 

The most effective tool for analysing mutations is Whole Viral Genome sequencing. It allows you to read out the entire genome of the virus. Once the wet-lab sequencing is complete, we use this information to map it against what is called a "reference genome", meaning the classic SARS-COV2 genome. This allows us to then see any differences between the investigated sample and the baseline genome of SARS COV2. 

We then use these differences to map them against a database of known mutations, like the Delta variant. That way we can see if we are dealing with any known variant, and if we have a new variant at our hands, as well as determine what this new variant does to the spike protein and how likely it is to be a problem with antigens and vaccines, based on the changed protein structure. This last step is not easy and not clear-cut, and there is some speculation into the determination of how problematic the mutated proteins are. 

 What does Quantgene do differently?  

At Quantgene, we are focusing on solving problems for our clients - may it be employers, movie productions or governments. That means we ensure that our client gets the COVID protection they need in the fastest possible time frame and at the highest precision possible - mostly at or below market prices. 

We are bringing together technologies like RT-PCR testing and mutation profiling/sequencing, as well as advanced bioinformatics and computational resources to ensure high-quality results are being delivered seamlessly. 

We are also adding important components such as real-time cloud software and medical services to it. Simply put, we turn the COVID problem into a one-click seamless solution that works better than others, so companies and government clients don't have to deal with laboratories, medical or software providers who point fingers at each other and fail to deliver in time and with high precision. COVID is too dangerous and important to risk falling short.     

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