Endo Pharmaceuticals investing in data crunching

Endo Pharmaceuticals president and chief executive officer, Dave Holveck, said that his company is spending money on data crunching.

Endo's third-quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed an increase in spending on research and development in that quarter compared with the same period in 2010, which could represent a slight difference from the industry trends. However, there are caveats in that.

First, with the $2.9 billion acquisition of AMS, the Endo financial reports for the second half of 2011 will have an apples-to-oranges-comparison element to them.

Second, Holveck said the company is directing money to data systems that will help it make decisions on which drugs and devices to develop beyond their initial stages. This flows from the idea that simply producing a me-too drug or device is not working anymore with lots of products because payers (private or government) are clamping on down reimbursements, which translates to less profit.

"The expansion will come in a number of ways," Holveck said after the company's ceremonial groundbreaking for a new headquarters in Malvern, Chester County. "R&D is one way, but the other area that is a big underpinning of the future of health care is data. We're going to invest heavily in IT and software development to complement the science. What we're finding today is that the economics/access/outcome equation has really got to be fostered by good, solid data to make decisions, so we're investing heavily in that area."

Meanwhile, Endo was affected by the shutdown of a Novartis manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Neb. Some Endo products were produced at that plant.

Novartis and Endo said pharmacists and patients should look carefully at pills and packages to make sure pills were proper.

A Philadelphia reader-pharmacist told us that pharmacies received notices to double check that Endo's Endocet 3/325 tablets are the proper size and that other drugs were not put in those bottles.

Endo shifted production to its plant in Huntsville, Ala., and Holveck said Tuesday that change had occurred. He said he had not heard of adverse events related to the Novartis plant problem.

And regarding that new headquarters, one of the PhillyPharma commenters Tuesday was absolutely correct in mentioning the vacant office buildings near the Atwater Business Park where Endo is headed. In driving to and from the site Tuesday, it was easy to see the signs on both sides of Route 29 advertising that office space was available.