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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was refreshing and invigorating, because that oh-so-familiar routine of meetings, deadlines, and what-not has returned with a vengeance. To cope, yes, we are engaging in our usual ritual of quaffing cups of stimulation — Mocha Nut Fudge, if you care — and invite you to join us. Remember, no prescription is required. Meanwhile, here are some tidbits to help you along. Hope your day goes exceedingly well and do keep us in mind when something interesting arises …

Pfizer may be running late-stage trials on a new treatment for sickle cell anemia, but if the outcome is a bust, the drug maker has a small silver lining — outside investors helped fund the studies, The Wall Street Journal tells us. NovaQuest Capital Management LLC, a private-equity firm, is one of a bevy of investors that fund late-stage clinical trials and such deals are becoming increasingly common as drug makers seek to limit risk.

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  • In my time in pharma we spent a minimum of 2-3 years in Phase 2 nailing down the efficacy of a drug. We didn’t take a drug into Phase 3 unless we had 95% probability of success and we pretty much nailed that. We didn’t need to do equity risk sharing. Pfizer, like others today blast through Phase 2 and enter Phase 3 trials with much less assurance that they have a viable drug candidate, which goes a long way in explaining the high rate of Phase 3 failures, which are very expensive. This to me is the only plausible reason for sharing the costs and profits with private equity in an industry otherwise emblematic of the phrase “Greed is Good.”

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