david and goliath?

August 10, 2007 at 9:08 pm Leave a comment

Pfizer is the world’s largest pharmaceutical company with a market cap of a bit over $166 billion. They have 11 drugs in Phase 3 trials, with that number estimated to triple by 2009, and 47 drugs in Phase 2 trials. Any one of these drugs, if accepted, will easily be a $1 billion per year drug.

Valderm is one of the smallest pharmaceutical companies in the world, with only 4 full time employees. They are located in Denmark, which has a GDP of $201 billion, which is only a bit over Pfizer’s market cap. Valderm has roughly one drug they are working on, a cream for psoriasis, and the entire market for psoriasis worldwide is about $0.5 billion.

It was interesting having both companies visit us this past week.

So after Pfizer showed us a fancy slide show with neat graphs and tables chock full of data about the products they wanted us to manufacture (I work at a contract pharmaceutical manufacturer), they spent an hour talking about pricing. Granted, we were talking to a bunch of whipper snapper consultants (wait, I think I am a whipper snapper also) that cared only about the bottom line but it was a little disheartening to see the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, with tons of resources that can change the quality of life for tons of people, talk about a few thousand dollars on some quote that was hastily drafted. Honestly, who really cares about nickel and dime stuff when you are developing cutting edge drugs with the potential to change peoples’ lives? I wanted to yell at Pfizer “Shame on you; your only concern should be getting these drugs to market as soon as possible.”

The Valderm visit was totally different. Ms. Arne Petersen found us just last Friday (probably on the interweb somewhere) and was able to fly out from Denmark into Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Talk about the cost of manufacturing her complex cream was barely mentioned, with most of the time devoted to talk about psoriasis patients and how she developed her cream.

Our world needs more Valderms and less Pfizers. Decisions at Pfizer are made by suits in the corporate office on Park Ave, NYC who never set food inside a manufacturing plant. Pfizer is a huge battleship, able to alter their course 1 degree every 50 nautical miles. Meanwhile, Valderm is a tiny boat, with a 10 horsepower outboard motor and crazed sailor with an Uzi at the helm, doing circles around everyone and kicking butt.

Valderm, I salute you!

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Entry filed under: commentary, drugs, pharmaceuticals.

bread and fellowship 259.

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