Teva Pharmaceutical Layoffs, Don’t Blame Management, ‘It’s the Productivity Crisis, Stupid’

The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD) highlights the relationship between planned layoffs at Teva Pharmaceuticals, as reported in an article published on October 6th, 2013 on the Washingtonpost.com, and the productivity crisis in pharmaceutical R&D. In addition, the CBCD proposes a new technology to end this crisis.

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It’s got to be frustrating for companies like Teva. According to current practice, they’re doing everything right. Yet, they continue failing when it comes to bringing new, safe and effective drugs to the market. - Greg Bennett, CBCD

Rochester, NY (PRWEB) October 21, 2013

Many people believe that the big pharmaceutical companies just don’t care, that they are greedy, that they don’t try hard enough. The CBCD disagrees. The price of failure is just too big. Therefore, there is ample evidence that the pharmaceutical industries, and the governments behind them, are doing everything they can, and then some, to find new drugs. The question is, why do they consistently fail with all the money and effort they put into R&D?

Teva Pharmaceuticals is a case in point. The company recently reported a second quarter loss of $452 million. Because the company has no replacement for Copaxone, it is restructuring and eliminating up to 10% of its workforce, according to an article published on October 10, 2013 on Bloomberg.com (2). “Its future hinges on finding new revenue to replace what it earns from the branded product Copaxone (2).”

Because of the layoffs, Israeli politician, Shelly Yachimovich accused Teva of not caring, of greedy behavior, and of biting the hand that fed it. “Layoffs at a company (Teva Pharmaceuticals) that pays almost zero taxes are an act of cannibalism. There is no other word. Teva has grossly violated its contract with the state. It is demonstrating an utter lack of solidarity, commitment to society, and gratitude (1).”

The CBCD points out that the layoffs are a direct result of a failure in drug discovery. They are not due to greed or lack of trying. Current drug discovery is diseased. The process itself needs a cure.

Teva Pharmaceuticals has a long history of ‘trying hard.’

The company rose from humble beginnings in 1901, “when its founders launched a small importer of medications. According to the company website, it began producing drugs in the 1930s and became known as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in 1976 (1).” Since then, the company’s “takeover of Ivax Corp. in 2005 and Barr Pharmaceuticals in 2008 for about $7.4 billion each were the biggest by an Israeli company and cemented Teva’s position as the world’s largest producer of generic drugs (1).”

The company’s premier drug for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Copaxone, was approved by the FDA in 1996. Since then, the company has looked for a replacement for this pharmaceutical cash cow since the drug’s patent is expiring. However, despite “years of preferential treatment (1)” from the Israeli government and “tax breaks of nearly 12 billion shekels, or $3.4 billion, between 2006 and 2011 (which) amounted to more than a third of all tax breaks given to Israeli corporations (1),” the company still has no new drug to replace Copaxone.

Teva Pharmaceuticals tried very hard with the Israeli government backing it, and still failed.

Why?

The CBCD argues that pharmaceutical executives continue to adhere to a failed paradigm in drug discovery. They adhere to a diseased process that is sure to produce unacceptable results.

What is that paradigm? It’s a philosophy that revolves around developing a drug that attacks a ‘Single Target.’

A paper published on March, 2012 in the medical journal Nature Reviews said that “Much of the pharmaceutical industry's R&D is now based on the idea that high-affinity binding to a single biological target linked to a disease will lead to medical benefit in humans. Indeed, drug-like small molecules tend to bind promiscuously, and this sometimes turns out to have an important role in their efficacy as well as their so-called off-target effects. Targets are parts of complex networks leading to unpredictable effects, and biological systems show a high degree of redundancy, which could blunt the effects of highly targeted drugs (3).”

In simple terms, the idea that a drug binds with only one target is wishful thinking. As it turns out, every drug binds with many targets in the body, the desired one, and many others. Binding to the ‘other’ targets usually causes all the unwanted, surprising, side effects. If a drug’s side effects are too dangerous, it cannot be approved.

A pharmaceutical company (like Teva Pharmaceuticals) can spend billions trying to develop a chemical drug without dangerous side effects. However, because the current understanding of biology is limited, finding a drug that targets only one molecule, just one target, is bound to fail.

“It’s got to be frustrating for companies like Teva. According to current practice, they’re doing everything right. Yet, they continue failing when it comes to bringing new, safe and effective drugs to the market. And, it’s not because they’re not trying hard enough. It’s not because they don’t invest enough in the discovery process. It’s because the whole ‘Single Target’ paradigm is wrong.” –Greg Bennett, CBCD

As the number of new, successful drugs brought to the market continues to decline, other pharmaceutical companies will also face the worrying prospect of an empty pipeline due to their adherence to the ‘Single Target’ philosophy.

The CBCD therefore proposes a new technology to end the productivity crisis in pharmaceutical R&D. This technological solution is called Computer Intuition, a psycholinguistic-based data-mining program that analyzes scientific text and helps scientists discover new therapeutic features of chemical entities.

The CBCD invites pharmaceutical executives to contact the Center to learn more about ‘Computer Intuition’ and how this forward thinking technology can help provide higher returns on investment, and be implemented as part of their R&D efforts.

We invite the media to contact us for interviews at: info (at)buy-gene-eden(dot)com or phone 585-250-9999.

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References:

(1)    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/israeli-pharmaceutical-company-faces-uproar-over-large-planned-layoffs/2013/10/16/5902be82-368e-11e3-89db-8002ba99b894_story.html
(2)    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-10/teva-to-cut-5-000-jobs-take-1-1-billion-charge.html
(3)    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15614206

The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD, http://www.cbcd.net) is a research center recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization. The mission of the CBCD is to advance the research on the biology of chronic diseases, and to accelerate the discovery of treatments.

The CBCD published the “Purple” book by Dr. Hanan Polansky. The book presents Dr. Polansky’s highly acclaimed scientific theory on the relationship between foreign DNA and the onset of chronic diseases. Dr. Polansky’s book is available as a free download from the CBCD website.


Contact

  • Hanan Polansky
    Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD)
    +1 (585) 250-9999
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