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Everyone loves a winner, but who are they? Let us help you figure it out. Each Friday, we will provide a quick rundown of individuals or companies that accomplished something worth noting. But to be fair, we will also point out those who, well, had a rough time. And if you have a nomination, send us a note. We would not want anyone to feel left out, even the losers.


Marathon Pharmaceuticals: You know what they say: Make lemonade out of lemons. After enduring intense political heat over the $89,000 price tag it slapped on a recently approved rare disease drug, Marathon unexpectedly sold the medicine. But the company stands to come out way ahead. Marathon gets $140 million, plus another $50 million milestone payment and royalties for a decades-old steroid. Meanwhile, the company reportedly bought old data that formed the bulk of its marketing application for less than $1 million and spent anywhere from $6 million to $60 million on additional pre-clinical studies, but probably closer to the low end. And Marathon declined to sell a voucher it was awarded by the FDA along with the approval, which can be worth about $125 million. Not a bad deal, eh?


Scott Gottlieb: For now, anyway. The physician, former FDA official, industry consultant, and venture capitalist was nominated late last Friday to become the next FDA commissioner. He has a lengthy resume indicating he clearly knows his way around the pharmaceutical world and a long list of admirers, given his penchant for openly pushing the agency to do things differently. But consumer groups detest his many ties to drug makers and worry about lowering FDA standards. Nonetheless, Gottlieb contrasts smartly with Jim O’Neill, a hedge fund manager and policy wonk who had been in the running for the job but set off alarm bells by suggesting drugs should be approved only the basis of safety.

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  • A winner and a loser. Patrick Swailes Caldwell hoverboards his way around the stage as Martin Shrkeli in an updated off Broadway production named “Pharma Bro: An American Douchical”.

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