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Do targeted Pfizer, Roche cancer drugs signify an R&D trend? (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including niche Pfizer and Roch drugs may point to a new R&D trend, Bristol-Myers/Pfizer anti-stroke drug wins FDA approval, and no love for biotechnology in Britain (or New York).

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about healthcare.

New direction for pharmaceuticals? Does Pfizer’s non-small cell lung cancer drug Xalkori winning FDA approval and Roche’s late-stage melanoma drug Zelboraf heading for blockbuster status signify a new trend in pharmaceutical R&D? WSJ analysts say pharmas are now working on developing niche drugs with companion diagnostics for subgroups of patients rather than trying to develop new blockbusters to replace aging markets. What makes these niche drugs profitable is their hefty pricetags — Xalkori will cost patients $115,000 a year.

Bristol-Myers/Pfizer stroke drug success. Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) and Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) anti-stroke drug Eliquis significantly outperformed warfarin in a recent study, giving the companies hope for success in the multi-billion dollar market for new blood thinners.

Biotech fizzles in Britain. More than a third of biotech companies in the UK have gone under since 2008, and 10 more are in danger, according to an analyst. Although the biotech industry in Britain has suffered immensely over the past three years, a resurgence might be in the air as successful smaller drug companies emerge.

Speaking of fizzling biotech markets… New York has experienced a similar effect, losing 3,000 biopharmaceutical manufacturing jobs in 2010. In this Xconomy piece, the founder of Acorda Therapeutics talks about why he started the company in New York and why the state could have the potential to house bio startups in the future.

Is social media really critical for businesses? According to a new Pew Internet survey, only 50 percent of adults use social media, and that 50 percent isn’t quite as enthusiastic about it as we tend to think based on how fast its grown.

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