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Lilly, Roche dive deep into diagnostics

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Two Indianapolis giants—Eli Lilly and Co. and Roche Diagnostics—are working hard to pair up drugs and diagnostic tests to gin up more sales.

Lilly, which launched its own diagnostic division last month to focus on cancer and Alzheimer’s drugs, has also found a test that could help its slow-selling blood thinner, Effient.

Indianapolis-based Lilly said Monday that its sales reps will talk up to doctors a blood test made by a San Diego firm that measures the clotting ability of each patient’s blood after taking a blood thinner. From Lilly’s standpoint, the idea is to identify which patients aren’t benefiting from Effient’s main competitor, Plavix.

Plavix’s annual sales of $9.5 billion dwarf those of Effient—$35 million in its first nine months on the market. But studies have shown that genetic variations cause as many as 14 percent of Plavix patients to receive little or no anti-clotting benefit from the drug.

Both Effient and Plavix are given to patients who have had their arteries propped open through balloon angioplasties or stents.

The diagnostic blood test, made by Accumetrics Inc., costs about $60, according to The New York Times. That’s cheaper and faster than a genetic test that could determine which patients won’t respond well to Plavix.

"We believe physicians will want to know the specific effect of a patient's antiplatelet [blood thinning] therapy and whether additional measures may be needed," said Dr. Rogelio Braceras, senior medical director of thrombosis at Lilly's development partner on Effient, Japan-based Daiichi Sankyo Inc.

Switzerland-based Roche, which operates both drug and diagnostic businesses, is testing one of its diagnostic tests against traditional Pap smears to see which detects the precursor of cervical cancer earliest. Roche Diagnostics' U.S. headquarters is in Indianapolis.

On July 9, Roche announced results of a clinical trial that showed its test, the cobas 4800 HPV Test, said one in 10 women who had the precursor to cervical cancer, the human papillomavirus, did not test positive for cancer in a Pap smear.

Roche’s test could potentially help sales of its blockbuster cancer drug Avastin. The drug is approved to treat various forms of cancer, and recent studies have examined it as a possible treatment for cervical cancer. Doctors have freedom to prescribe it for any treatment regimen.

Expect a lot more of these efforts in the future. An October study by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates the drug, device and diagnostic market at $24 billion a year and growing at 10 percent each of the next five years.

“This is kind of the next step,” said Tiffany Olson, Lilly’s vice president of diagnostics, in an interview at Lilly’s corporate headquarters south of downtown. “It’s making the promise actionable: right patient, right time, right dose."
 

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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