Friday, September 3, 2010

Unemployment Stats... the Devlis in the Details.... great Analysis

Bob Marshall’s BLS Analysis; 9/3/10

The unemployment rate is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the US Department of Labor. The rate is found by dividing the number of unemployed by the total civilian labor force. On September 3, 2010, the BLS published the most recent unemployment rate for August, 2010 of 9.6% (actually it is 9.642%; up .135% from 9.507% in July, 2010). This was determined by dividing the unemployed of 14,860,000 (up from the month before by 261,000—since August, 2009 (one year ago), this number has decreased by 133,000) by the total civilian labor force of 154,110,000 (up by 550,000 from July 2010). Since August 2009, our total civilian labor force has shrunk by 316,000 people. On the surface, these new unemployment rates are scary, but let’s look a little deeper and consider some other numbers.

The unemployment rate includes all types of workers—construction workers, farmers, etc. We recruiters, on the other hand, mainly place management, professional and related types of workers. That unemployment rate in August was fixed at 5.1% (this rate is the highest it has been since the 5.2% rate of September 2009). Or, you can look at it another way. We usually place people who have college degrees. That unemployment rate in August was fixed at 4.6% (this rate increased by .1% from July’s rate).

Now stay with me a little longer. This gets better. It’s important to understand (and none of the pundits mention this) that the unemployment rate, for many reasons, will never be 0%, no matter how good the economy is. Without boring you any more than I have already, just let me add here that Milton Friedman (the renowned Nobel Prize-winning economist), is famous for the theory of the “natural rate of unemployment” (or the term he preferred, NAIRU, which is the acronym for Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment). This theory states that full employment presupposes an ‘unavoidable and acceptable’ unemployment rate of somewhere between 4-6% with it. So, if applied to our main category of management, professional and related types of potential recruits, and/or our other main category of college-degreed potential recruits, we have no unemployment

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

as reported by The Street 10 Firms Expecting Clinical Trial Results

10 Firms Expecting Clinical Trial Results
By Adam Feuerstein

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- I've put together an updated calendar of meaningful clinical trials with results expected through the end of the current year. The biotech and drug companies included here are listed in alphabetical order.

Unlike U.S. Food and Drug Administration drug approvals, which are more precisely timed, the release dates for data from clinical trials is a bit fuzzier, so the timelines here are culled from company guidance when possible.
Successful biotech traders and investors understand the importance of staying one step ahead of stock-moving catalysts in the biotech sector. Use this clinical trial list as a companion to my recently published FDA drug approval calendar.

This list was compiled using company reports and the BioMedTracker service from Sagient Research, a subscription-based tool for keeping track of biotech and drug catalysts.

Read on for the list.

Company: Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA)
Drug/indication: Ridaforolimus for sarcoma
Estimated timing: Before year's end.
Recent stock performance: Closed Tuesday at $2.73, off its recent high of $4.25 reached in mid May.
The phase III "SUCCEED" study is designed to detect a 33% improvement in median progression-free survival between "rida" and placebo in patients with soft-tissue or bone sarcoma who were previously treated, successfully, with chemotherapy. Full enrollment in the study of 650 patients was reached in December 2009 and independent study monitors completed their last interim check in May, recommending the study proceed to a final analysis.
Ariad licensed worldwide commercial rights to rida to Merck(MRK). The two companies recently restructured the terms of the partnership.

Company: AstraZeneca (AZN)
Drug/indication: Zibotentan for prostate cancer
Estimated timing: Fourth quarter
Recent stock performance: A rebound in June and July has pushed the stock up 6% for the year.
Zibotentan represents the biggest, near-term competitive threat to Dendreon's(DNDN) prostate cancer immunotherapy Provenge. The phase III study of zibotentan targets the same patient population described in Provenge's FDA-approved label -- men with prostate cancer that no longer respond to hormone treatment but who have minimal bone pain and have not yet started chemotherapy.
The study of 580 men compares treatment with zibotentan against best supportive care with a primary endpoint of overall survival. If the study is positive and zibotentan gains FDA approval, doctors will have another treatment choice besides Provenge for this group of prostate cancer patients.

Company: BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (BMRN)
Drug/indication: Peg-Pal for phenylketonuria (PKU)
Estimated timing: Third quarter
Recent stock performance: At $19, the stock is flat for the year, off its recent high of $25 reached in May.
Peg-Pal is a follow-on therapy for PKU that is being developed as a treatment for patients who do not respond to Biomarin's currently marketed PKU drug Kuvan. This phase II study treats 35 patients with PKU for 16 weeks.

Company: Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
Drug/indication: Ipilimumab for melanoma
Estimated timing: Fourth quarter
Recent stock performance: At almost $26, trading close to its year high
Bristol was the star of the most recent ASCO cancer conference where the company presented positive results from a phase III study of ipilimumab in previously treated melanoma patients. Bristol plans to seek FDA approval for ipilimumab based on these data despite some lingering questions about the strength of the results.
Bristol can put all the questions about ipilimumab to rest with boffo results from this next phase III study in 500 first-line, or newly treated melanoma patients. The study compares ipilimumab plus the chemotherapy DTIC against DTIC plus a placebo, with overall survival as the primary endpoint.

Company: Corcept Therapeutics (CORT)
Drug/indication: Corlux for Cushing's syndrome
Estimated timing: Fourth quarter
Recent stock performance: Up more than 20% for the year.
Cushing's syndrome is a rare disease in which patients suffer from high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and/or diabetes and other symptoms because of exposure to high levels of the "stress hormone" cortisol.
Corcept enrolled 50 Cushing's patients in its pivotal, phase III study in which all patients are being treated with Corlux for 24 weeks. The primary endpoint of the study is improvement in glucose tolerance or a decrease in diastolic blood pressure relative to baseline. The active ingredient in Corlux is mifepristone, also known as the abortion drug RU-486

Company: Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals (CYCC)
Drug/indication: Seliciclib for non-small cell lung cancer
Expected timing: Before year's end
Recent stock performance: At around $1.50, the stock has been cut in half from the $3 level reached in January.
Last January, investors bid up shares of Cyclacel on the publication of research demonstrating that seliciclib was effective against certain lung cancer cells -- in a petri dish. Some of that investor excitement for the stock has ebbed in the subsequent seven months, but could be rekindled if Cyclacel posts positive results from this phase II study in non-small cell lung cancer patients. The phase II study is somewhat unique because it uses a follows a "randomized discontinuation" design that was most famously used to test the initial efficacy of Onyx Pharmaceutical's cancer drug Nexavar. In this case, all lung cancer patients are first treated with seliciclib for six weeks. Patients whose tumors remain stable at a minimum after this run-in treatment phase are then randomized to continue treatment with seliciclib or receive best supportive care. The study's primary endpoint is progression-free survival measured in the randomized portion of the study.

Company: Merck
Drug/indication: Boceprevir for hepatitis C
Estimated timing: Third quarter
Recent stock performance: Flat for the year
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) set the efficacy bar for new hepatitis C drugs when the company's experimental drug telaprevir posted a 75% "cure" rate in a pivotal phase III study of newly diagnosed patients.
Investors await results from two pivotal studies of Merck's boceprevir in newly diagnosed hepatitis C patients as well as in patients who failed to respond to previous treatment. Likewise, Vertex is expected to announce results later this year from additional late-stage studies of telaprevir in previously treated patients.

Company: Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX)
Drug/indication: Carfilzomib for multiple myeloma
Estimated timing: Third quarter
Recent stock performance: Down 28% and near its 52-week low.
Onyx acquired the next-generation proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib when the company bought the privately held drug developer Proteolix in October 2009. This "pivotal" phase IIb study enrolled 269 patients with multiple myeloma that continued to grow despite two or three prior therapies. If carfilzomib can shrink tumors in a significant portion of these patients, Onyx intends to seek accelerated approval with the FDA.

Company: Raptor Pharmaceuticals(RPTP)
Drug/indication: DR Cysteamine for cystinosis
Expected timing: Fourth quarter
Recent stock performance: At $2.60, up for the year but still below the spike to $4 which occurred last October.
DR Cysteamine is a proprietary formulation designed to require less frequent dosing (every 12 hours versus every six hours) and cause fewer gastrointestinal side effects than immediate-release cysteamine for patients with cystinosis. Cystinosis is a rare genetic disease caused by the buildup of the amino acid cystine within cells. Patients with cystinosis develop severe kidney problems and suffer from impaired growth. Raptor's phase III study compares DR Cysteamine to immediate release cysteamine.

Company: Seattle Genetics(SGEN)
Drug/indication: Lintuzumab (SGN-33) for acute myeloid leukemia
Estimated timing: Third quarter
Recent stock performance: Up 22% for the year.
Seattle Genetics scores points for designing this pivotal lintuzumab study in AML with a control arm and a survival benefit endpoint, unlike recent AML single-arm studies conducted by Genzyme(GENZ) and Vion Pharmaceuticals that failed to pass muster with FDA or the agency's panel of outside cancer experts.
If lintuzumab can score a win in this study by helping patients with AML live longer, FDA approval should be relatively straightforward. However, the patients enrolled in the lintuzumab study are elderly (60 years or older) and very sick with an aggressive form of blood cancer that has proven resistant to effective treatment with previous drugs. Data from an earlier and much smaller study of lintuzumab in elderly AML patients showed some promising hints of tumor remission.

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Great Article from the Washington Post

Do your own recruiter searching long before you'll be job searching

By Vickie Elmer
Sunday, June 27, 2010

If your career matters to you, you need to recruit a recruiter.

The time to do this, ideally, is before you start hunting for a new job. And the way to do it is either to be discovered by a recruiter who joins your network, or to be recommended by co-workers and others who value your talents and contributions.

Kathleen T. Kurke hears from one such man who e-mails about once a month saying he loves his job but is ready to help her with connections in Texas, where he lives. He wants to help the executive recruiter now so when he's next looking, she'll be more likely to assist him.

That proactive approach demonstrates his talents as a business developer and keeps his connections strong with Kurke, national practice leader with the Starbridge Group in Fairfax. "The best time to approach a recruiter is when you're not looking for a job," she said, offering advice echoed by several others.

Get connected through co-workers, a former boss or someone on the nonprofit board on which you serve. "Referrals are the best," said Patrick Gray, a Korn Ferry International partner who specializes in government contractor searches in the aerospace and defense fields.

A third avenue in: Develop a robust online profile on LinkedIn and in your professional association or community. "Make yourself visible," says Bob Corlett, president of Staffing Advisors in the District, which recruits for nonprofit, association and entrepreneurial clients. Speak at professional meetings or serve on a committee -- and leave an online trail illustrating your professional skills.

This will make you "findable" to recruiters, Corlett says. They seek candidates by searching LinkedIn, by checking professional association sites or by Googling around for prospects.

You want to connect with a recruiter who works in your industry or at your career level. For Corlett's Staffing Advisors, that's often at the director level, including many searches for directors of HR or development. For Korn Ferry, that means mostly vice presidents and above. Some recruiters specialize in one job function, such as general counsels or graphic designers, and others focus on one sector, such as finance or legal.

Once you have been introduced to a recruiter, look for ways to make the relationship mutually beneficial and long-term. "Be a good go-to resource for discussions on issues and trends in industry," said Kurke, who is president of the Pinnacle Society, a group of star recruiters nationwide. Or as the Texas man does, offer to connect her to other candidates. "It's sort of like managing up when you work for somebody," Kurke said. You need their help -- and you help the recruiter succeed, too.

Recruiters are inundated with inquiries and résumés, so respect their time. Don't ask them for advice on your résumés or cover letter; that's for friends, family or résumés writers. And don't expect them to help you with career change thoughts.

It's fine to work with two or three recruiters -- "a manageable number of relationships," according to Gray. But you need to be honest and open with each one, Kurke says, so they don't duplicate efforts or feel you're being secretive. "Share your goals and aspirations," she said, and never lie about your experience or accomplishments.

Recruiters are paid to identify people who are in demand or difficult to find, Corlett said. Recruiters work for the organization, so unless you're a good match for the employer's specifications, you won't make the slate of candidates. Said Corlett: "You could be my brother, and I'm not going to put you forward if you're not a good fit."

Vickie Elmer is a freelance writer.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Have the regulations gone too far...

Want a free pharma latte? Show your ID

By Tracy Staton
You've heard that there's no free lunch, but no free coffee? One of the trends noticed at last weekend's American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting was careful policing of just who took free lattes. No Vermonters were allowed at the Pfizer coffee machine, thanks to that state's strict rules on pharma gifts for physicians--and no Minnesotans, either.

And those doctors who did collect a cup of joe? They'll see their names on the Pfizer website, a company spokesman promised Reuters. "Any gift, even a cup of coffee, is posted on our Pfizer website for disclosure purposes and to provide complete clarity."

One international drugmaker even limited coffee handouts to doctors with international ID badges. A woman stood guard, in fear that the FDA's handout police would come calling.

It's a far cry from the ASCO exhibit floor of the past, where doctors could pick up all sorts of drugmaker tchotchkes. Apparently, pharma companies are really taking the new PhRMA gift guidelines seriously. In some views, too seriously. "This is getting to the point of absurdity," a deputy CMO at the American Cancer Society remarked to Reuters.

Please feel free to share your thoughts....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Immunology Drug Development Physicians

The world of social media offers unprecedented ability for those with common interests to connect........

Immunology Drug Development Physicians is a LinkedIn Group for Physicians supporting Drug Development in the growing and evolving Immunology arena.

This group is for physicians working in Immunology Drug Development. Immunology is an area of drug development that is continuing to expand in scope; indications being explored include but are not limited to Rheumatology, Psoriatic Arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma, Respiratory and Oncology. The growth of monoclonal drug development will continue to fuel this expansion.

The goal of this forum is for physicians to discuss the scientific and business aspects of immunology drug development; to create a space for physicians to discuss their experiences and challenges.

We encourage you to exchange your thoughts, and seek advice from colleagues.

We encourage you to exchange your thoughts, and seek advice from colleagues.

Drug Safety / Pharmacovigilance / Pharmacoepidemiology Physicians

The world of social media offers unprecedented ability for those with common interests to connect........

Drug Safety / Pharmacovigilance / Pharmacoepidemiology Physicians is a LinkedIn Group for Physicians working in the areas of Drug Safety, Pharmacovigilance Pharmacoepidemiology and Risk Management inside of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The goal of this group is to create a forum to discuss the scientific and business aspects of these disciplines. To create a space for physicians to discuss their professional experiences and the challenges they face.

We encourage you to exchange your thoughts, and seek advice from colleagues.

Friday, May 14, 2010

LEGAL UPDATE – From Bob Style NAPS Attorney.

LEGAL UPDATE – From Bob Style NAPS Attorney.

HIRE Act provides tax incentives for hiring the unemployed

The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (“Hire Act”) is a recently enacted federal law which provides certain tax benefits to those employers who hire the unemployed. It may be of interest to those engaged in temporary staffing, as well as to clients of placement firms.

The first tax credit applies to employers who hire the unemployed at some point between February 3, 2010 and January 1, 2011. The credit is for an amount equal to the employer’s portion of the social security tax.

The employee must complete and file with you an IRS form (W-11) in which he or she states, under penalties of perjury, that the employee has worked less than 40 hours in the most recent 60 day period. The employee cannot be hired to replace another employee who was terminated without cause, and cannot be related to anyone owning at least a 50% interest in the employer.

If the employer keeps the employee on the payroll for 52 consecutive weeks, and the employee earns in the second 26 weeks of the period, at least 80% of the earnings for the first 26 weeks, then the employer becomes eligible for a $1,000 tax credit in 2011.

This information was provided by NAPS through Bob Styles Legal Updates email.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jobs as a Bargaining Chip.....

Paper: Roche, Novartis threaten to leave UK

Drugmakers may not have the power to force the U.K. to pay for their meds, but they do have one massive bargaining chip: Jobs. Witness Swiss drugmakers Novartis and Roche, which reportedly are threatening to pull out of Britain and move some 5,000 jobs abroad.

The threats came in personal meetings with U.K. ministers, who've been traveling the world to placate drugmakers angered by, among other things, drug pricing for the National Health Service, The Guardian reports.

In fact, the officials have mounted a "vigorous charm offensive" to keep multinational drugmakers from leaving the country, according to the paper, which got access to government documents about the situation. As part of that effort, ministers and repesentatives of the cost-effectiveness watchdog NICE have visited pharma execs at their headquarters in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. They've been visiting companies they fear they're most at risk of losing--including Roche and Novartis.

Roche, for one, objected to government efforts to cut drug prices. The U.K. "price squeeze" could well spread beyond Britain's borders, the company says, because many other countries use U.K. prices to set their own. If Roche pulled out of the U.K., it might lose 3 percent of its business, but would "safeguard pricing levels at the remaining 97 percent," the paper reports.

At the officials' meeting with Novartis, the company hinted that it might like some government incentives to help pay for an expansion and upgrade at one Liverpool-area vaccine plant. And company officials warned that the company might move some of their trials out of the country, because the NHS system is too slow, making trials too expensive.

Roche, for its part, says it has "no plans" to leave the U.K.; it's just working with the government to persuade Britain to adopt more new meds, it says in a statement emailed to Dow Jones. Novartis wouldn't comment.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Would like to Congratulate her Fellow Honorees

Would like to Congratulate her Fellow Honorees for the 2010 Long Island Business News Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business Awards

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Physicians in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The world of social media offers unprecedented ability for those with common interests to connect........

Physicians in the Pharmaceutical Industry is a LinkedIn Group for Physicians employed inside of the Pharmaceutical industry. Choosing an alternative career path to clinical medicine can be rewarding while also offering challenges.  

The goal of this forum is to discuss the scientific and business aspects of drug development and to create a space for physicians to discuss their professional experiences. Utilizing medical training in a non-traditional capacity can create unique bonds and experiences. 

Join here:

We encourage you to exchange your thoughts, and seek advice from colleagues.