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A few weeks ago, I attended a presentation that was produced by another consulting firm, which we shall call Company X. They began their presentation with a discussion of “what is Company X?” Then they went on the the substance of their presentation.

In the same vein, as the producers of the Biopharmconsortium Blog, this article is entitled “What is Haberman Associates?” After we have posted this article, we also shall go on to our usual subject matter.

Haberman Associates is a Boston-based consulting firm, founded in 1993, that specializes in science and technology strategy for life science companies–principally pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, and research products companies, and other companies (e.g., life science publishers, venture capitalists, angel investors, etc.) that serve the industry.

The focus of our company is new product development and commercialization. This includes new products developed via internal R&D and through partnering. In internal R&D, our usual focus is toward the early end of the process–drug discovery and early development.

Clients have used our consulting services to help them:

  • discover and develop new drugs, diagnostics, and research products
  • improve their drug pipelines
  • identify and evaluate potential partners
  • develop new applications for their technologies
  • penetrate new markets

Haberman Associates is a member the Boston-based Biopharmaceutical Consortium (BPC) and an Affiliate of the North Carolina-based consulting consortium Innovalyst. Our relationship with Innovalyst began after one of our BPC partners moved to North Carolina, and eventually became a Principal of Innovalyst. Between BPC and Innovalyst, we have nearly 90 senior consultants on our team.

We have worked on consulting engagements with both BPC and Innovalyst consultants.  Our relationship with these consortia enables us to take on larger projects, as well as projects requiring multiple types of expertise.

One of my Innovalyst colleagues referred to the Haberman Associates/Innovalyst combination as a “virtual drug discovery and development organization”. Another way to look at the Haberman Associates/Innovalyst combination is as having to power of a single office of a large consulting firm, but one dedicated to helping pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients to increase their effectiveness in the difficult areas of drug discovery and development.

In one case last year, a prospective client asked me whether Haberman Associates could take on a consulting engagement involving GMP services. I know little about that subject, other than where it fits into the process of developing a drug. I also know people who work in that area. So I handed the engagement over to another project leader in Innovalyst. He formed a team that included himself, several domain experts (one of whom knows the Chinese GMP services market), and me.  Although I knew little about GMP services, I used my research and interviewing skills, and made a material contribution to the project. Our team delivered a result that exceeded client expectations.

We always aim to exceed client expectations, whatever the project.

In addition to consulting, Haberman Associates has produced numerous publications–ranging from articles to book-length reports–which have been published by leading life science industry publishers. A list of recent publications is now available on my public LinkedIn profile.

As for the Biopharmconsortium Blog, it is the blog for our consulting group, not a journalistic blog. Despite the diversity of subjects covered by the blog, the focus is on effective drug discovery and development, and on company strategies designed to facilitate effective new product development. We have more good content available than we can possibly blog about, and do not accept requests to blog about content that is irrelevant to our focus.

We hope that the diverse community of our readers will benefit from the discussions on our blog. We also hope that potential clients in the life science industry will get a feeling for how we approach issues in drug discovery and development and company strategies.

However, even the best articles or books on how to solve key industry problems (such as clinical attrition) will not solve these problems on their own. Companies need to develop company-specific solutions and to implement them. For various reasons, they often are unable to do this without outside consulting help. Haberman Associates consulting may enable your company to formulate and implement the solutions you need to improve your productivity.

[Innovalyst ceased to be active as an organization as of February 2013. However, we remain in contact with several Innovalyst Affiliates and Managing Partners, who are available for collaboration with Haberman Associates.]


If you are in  a life sciences firm, and have questions about Haberman Associates, or wish to send us a consulting inquiry or to commission us to write a report for publication, please telephone or e-mail us.

 

As you all may have noticed, we have not had a post on the Biopharmconsortium Blog during the entire month of February, 2012.

This unintended hiatus happened because of the need to finish up other work.

We’re almost finished with these projects, and have several ideas for blog articles (including some articles that we had already started) in the hopper. So the Biopharmconsortium Blog hiatus will end soon.

Thank you very much for your patience, and for your continuing interest in our blog.

 

Happy New Year! http://bit.ly/tKUKIR

We commend for your New Year’s reading the review article entitled “Cancer immunotherapy comes of age” in the 22 December 2011 issue of Nature. It was written by Drs. Ira Mellman (Genentech),  George Coukos (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine), and Glenn Dranoff (Department of Medical Oncology and Cancer Vaccine Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Center/Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA).

As you may recall, Genentech’s Dr. Mellman was mentioned in our November 25, 2011 blog article on Dr. Ralph Steinman. Dr. Mellman was a former member of Dr. Steinman’s lab, and he was one of the researchers who helped plan the strategy for the immunotherapy-based treatment of Dr. Steinman’s own pancreatic cancer.

The review by Dr. Mellman and his colleagues is truly comprehensive. It covers research and events in drug development in cancer immunotherapy that we also discussed in the following 2011 blog articles:

The Nature review ties all these subjects and events together, and gives additional in-depth information on each of them. For example, in discussing adoptive immunotherapy for cancer with tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), the review presents new studies on the use of T-cell engineering and bispecific antibodies. Such methods may enable researchers and clinicians to get beyond the need for resectable tumors harboring reactive T cells, or even allow them to stimulate TILs in situ, thus avoiding the need to isolate and culture autologous T cells altogether.

Both the new Nature review and the discussions on our blog show that 2011 was a big year for cancer immunotherapy. The past year was proceeded by the 2010 approval of the first ever cancer vaccine, sipuleucel-T (Dendreon’s Provenge) for prostate cancer. 2011 saw the approval of ipilimumab (Medarex/Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy), and the awarding of a Nobel Prize for discoveries with profound implications for the development of cancer immunotherapies.

The importance for cancer immunotherapy of the discoveries represented by this Nobel Prize was vividly illustrated by the survival of Ralph Steinman an almost incredible four-and-a-half years after his being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, while receiving a series of immunotherapy treatments along with conventional chemotherapy. (Although there is no way to know whether any of the treatments was responsible for Dr. Steinman’s unexpectedly long survival, participating researchers agree that this one-patient experimental treatment moved the cancer immunotherapy field forward.)

The Nature review concludes that despite the long history of cancer immunotherapy, these are early days for research and clinical practice in the field. (This is typical for a premature technology! Nevertheless, the review concludes, cancer immunotherapy has come of age.

The review goes on to suggest that cancer immuntherapies might be used in combination with the new targeted therapies, such as vemurafenib (Plexxikon/Roche’s Zelboraf; PLX4032) and crizotinib (Pfizer’s Xalkori), which were approved in 2011. These targeted agents can give “significant and sometimes spectacular responses in several indications.” However, even the most dramatic responses are usually followed by drug resistance and relapse. If targeted therapies can be given with the appropriate immunotherapies, it might be possible to achieve long-term, durable responses.

This is the last article on the Biopharmconsortium Blog for 2011. We at Haberman Associates wish you all a very Happy New Year, and look forward to interacting with you in 2012.
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As the producers of this blog, and as consultants to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, Haberman Associates would like to hear from you. If you are in a biotech or pharmaceutical company, and would like a 15-20-minute, no-obligation telephone discussion of issues raised by this or other blog articles, or of other issues that are important to  your company, please click here. We also welcome your comments on this or any other article on this blog.

 

I hope that many of you have the special October 2011 issue of The Scientist, celebrating the publication’s 25th anniversary, in your hands. That issue is full of articles by leading researchers, including George Church, E.O. Wilson, Craig Venter, Mary-Claire King, Stephen Friend, and many others.

The Scientist is one of my favorite publications. It helps people in the life sciences industry and academia catch up with new findings that they may have missed in their usual reading, and to learn about areas of the life sciences that are removed from their main professional focus. It also has articles that focus on people in science, thus helping to restore the human element to our field. We also enjoy The Scientist‘s new, improved, and more accessible website.

There are several posts on this blog that are based on articles in The Scientist.

Less than a week after rolling out the celebratory October issue, on Thursday, October 6, The Scientist announced that it was shutting down its operations–another victim of the continuing financial downturn.

However, then came the unexpected reversal. On Friday, October 14, Sciencenow Inc. (the owner of The Scientist) and LabX Media Group announced that they had signed a non-binding Letter of Intent specifying terms for the acquisition of The Scientist by LabX Media Group, and were working to close the deal by the end of October.

On Monday October 17, The Scientist announced, “We’re Back”!  Pending the finalization of the LabX deal the magazine has restarted its operations, both of the print edition and the website. Its editorial staff has remained intact, and is hard at work.

The Scientist says, “We appreciate your patience as we sort out the sale of the magazine and work hard to return to our normal publication schedule. New stories are already appearing on the website, so check there for the latest news and digests from the life sciences….”

“October has been a bit topsy turvy for us, but we can assure you that The Scientist will be back better than ever, and we hope to remain on your desks, in your inboxes, and on your screens for many years to come.”

On October 27, 2011 LabX Media Group announced that it has finalized the acquisition of The Scientist, including print and digital formats, as expected.

Perhaps the bleak economic outlook will not overwhelm us in other areas of our common and our personal life. There is hope.

On March 3, 2011, we posted an article on this blog on the acquisition of Plexxikon by Daiichi Sankyo.

Then on March 11, 2001, came the 9.0-magnitude Tōhoku earthquake, followed by the devastating tsunami, with the loss of thousands of lives, and extensive damage to the infrastructure of Japan. Particularly troubling is the damage to the Fukushima I nuclear power plant, as well as several other nuclear power plants in Japan, and the uncertainty as to current and future effects of these events on Japan and its people. Also devastating is the economic loss due to the earthquake.

I cannot look at our blog post without thinking about the continuing events in Japan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people in their hour of need.

According to a March 14 2011 news release, several employees suffered minor injuries, but all are safe. Two Daiichi Sankyo production facilities in Japan have been partly damaged by the earthquake. The company will assess the situation at these plants–especially with respect to employee safety–as power is restored. Several Daiichi Sankyo sales facilities were also affected by the earthquake, and with employee safety as its first priority, the company will work to restore operations.

The acquisition of Plexxikon by Daiichi Sankyo is on schedule to close at the end of 2011.

Meanwhile, Daiichi Sankyo announced that it would donate 100 million Japanese Yen (JPY) (approximately $1.2 million) to the Japanese Red Cross Society, as well as medical supplies, for relief efforts; it has also implemented a matching gift program for employee donations. Takeda will donate 300 million JPY, as well as medical supplies, and Eisai will donate 200 million JPY and will establish a crisis center in the Tōhoku region. Astellas and Chugai are both donating 100 million JPY.

Non-Japanese Big Pharma and Big Biotech companies–Merck, Abbott, Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and Amgen–are each contributing over $1 million to Japanese aid. Many other corporations outside the pharmaceutical industry have pledged donations for Japanese relief.

The Japanese and American Red Cross, as well as many other secular and religious relief agencies, are assessing the situation in Japan and requesting donations.

Meanwhile, the Japanese people are behaving admirably in this crisis. There has been little or no looting or profiteering, and there is a sense of national cooperation. The resilience of the Japanese people, and their engineering skill and experience in rebuilding from previous disasters, will contribute mightily to Japan’s ability to rebound from this devastating earthquake and tsunami.

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Addendum, March 27, 2011: See the news article in the 22 March 2011 issue of Nature, entitled “The meltdown that wasn’t”.  According to this article, the operators in unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station acted competently and courageously in dealing with the effects of the earthquake and tsunami on the reactor on 11 March, 2011. They averted a catastrophic full meltdown of the reactor, and their actions also provided a model for stabilizing the other two reactors at the station.

Radiation exposure due to the Fukushima nuclear accident continues, however, as do the other effects of the earthquake and tsunami on Japan and her people.

For Nature’s full coverage of the continuing story of the Japanese earthquake and nuclear crisis, see http://www.nature.com/news/specials/japanquake/index.html.