Dendreon CEO John Johnson: ‘This is My Last Stop’
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in that market will help grow the market, and get awareness up. We really believe Provenge will be the foundation of care first. If you look at all the therapeutics coming out in the space, there’s significant progress in the space, progress we haven’t seen in the past. This will help us from a standpoint of buzz, and increased word on the street.
JJ: I don’t think it really changes. It’s not like if they show five months [median survival time benefit] versus four months, it makes a bit of difference to us. The point is, there’s an important role for immunotherapy, and there will be a role for the new agents.
X: So even though they are moving into the same pre-chemo population, and let’s say they show four months survival benefit, that would be very comparable to Provenge—with all the usual caveats about how it’s hard to compare different clinical trials. Are you still saying that doctors will choose Provenge as the foundation of care, meaning they opt for Provenge first and then go to Zytiga, or is that just the goal?
Mark Frohlich: I think that’s the goal. But when we speak to physicians, it’s a message that resonates very well with them. Conceptually it makes sense that with Provenge, an immune therapy, earlier use is better. If you look at our New England Journal paper and look at prognostic factors, overall there was a trend when people had lower disease burden and lower PSAs, there tends to be a bigger benefit for Provenge. We’re digging into that some more.
X: Just to talk big-picture for a minute, what kind of company do you see this becoming over the long-term? Five to 10 years from now?
JJ: A fully integrated company. By that I mean this will be a company that has operations around the world, and has manufacturing, and has research and commercializes its own products. In some markets, it will take a partner, probably, but a model I like is Celgene. There’s a company that started much like we did, and now they have operations in Europe, Japan. They really built the company out, and Sol Barer and Bob Hugin really deserve credit. It’s a great model for us.
X: So this will not be a quick flip?
JJ: That’s not the plan. We have a great platform here, and a great product—which, by the way, is really early in its life cycle. We’ve had an NCD [National Coverage Determination] from Medicare for, what, eight months? So it’s early, it’s in a growth phase, and my plan is to build it out. That’s why I was brought in. I am a guy who likes to build companies.
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