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In Cambridge, MA — Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund Gmbh Establishes U.S. Operations

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Ridgefield, Conn., (December 2, 2013):  Boehringer Ingelheim today announced that the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF) has opened a U.S. office in the premier biotech hub of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass. BIVF is a private equity fund created to invest in biotech and start-up companies which provide ground-breaking therapeutic approaches and technologies to help drive innovation in medical science.

The U.S. office will be led by Martin Heidecker, who will operate from Cambridge as well as Boehringer Ingelheim’s Fremont, California site, located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area biotech cluster. BIVF will invest up to approximately $13 million dollars per company, with a total fund volume of $130 million dollars.

“What makes BIVF unique is that we can help establish companies from the beginning, which can foster a conducive environment for innovation and enable greater success. Our U.S. presence means more opportunities for break-through biomedical initiatives, and we are looking forward to uncovering top talent in this exciting and entrepreneurial U.S. market,” said Heidecker.

BIVF will provide added-value expertise beyond capital investment, leveraging Boehringer Ingelheim’s extensive drug discovery, scientific and managerial proficiency. The team will specifically seek out investment opportunities unrelated to Boehringer Ingelheim’s key therapeutic areas.  BIVF’s ultimate goal is to enhance those companies invested in, delivering success for them and generating revenues to finance further new investment to benefit patients.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 140 affiliates and more than 46,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

Social responsibility is a central element of Boehringer Ingelheim’s culture. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim’s endeavors.

In 2012, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about $19.1 billion (14.7 billion euro). R&D expenditure in the business area Prescription Medicines corresponds to 22.5% of its net sales.

For more information please visit www.us.boehringer-ingelheim.com.

SOURCE

 

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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Will ‘gamifying’ drug R&D win more than Facebook fans for Boehringer?

By Tracy Staton, FiercePharma, August 22, 2012

Lots of computer games enlist players in quests to save the world. But how many would-be saviors are developing drugs? We can’t think of any–until now. Boehringer Ingelheim is on the verge of launching Syrum, a Facebook game of test tubes and titrations, not crossbows and assault rifles.

 “The health of the world is in your hands,” Boehringer’s director of digital, John Pugh, tells PSRK, in what could be a voice-over for a YouTube promo video for the game. “And you’re the only one who can save it.”

 Players have to solve a problem–e.g., a pandemic–via drug development, all the way from early discovery through clinical trials and launch. They can enlist help from Facebook friends, and advance in the game by checking into locations via the social network’s mobile app. “It wasn’t built with a view to being an educational platform,” Pugh says. “It’s very much a game which is meant to be engaging and entertaining … In the same way that Farmville doesn’t just appeal to people who like farms, Syrum isn’t just for people who like the pharmaceutical industry.”

But it was education that drew Pugh and his team into the project; as he points out for PSFK, the industry does a lot of it, whether that’s “educating” doctors about products, or teaching patients how to take their meds properly. Just because the game isn’t designed as an educational platform doesn’t mean it can’t educate, in a stealthy, backhanded way.

Syrum has been in development for two years. On Sept. 13, Boehringer will unveil a beta version at a London conference, aiming to get feedback from players for future iterations. “[T]he game will grow and evolve as more people play it,” Pugh says.

He also says Syrum is a “very unique offering from a highly regulated industry.” True. Whether it will remain unique depends, in part, on how Syrum actually fares. Will it attract a following? And if it does, will gamification of drug development actually benefit Boehringer’s business? Image? Relations with patients? Pharma’s social media advocates (and skeptics) will be watching.

John Pugh, Director of Digital for Boehringer Ingelheim, talks about driving innovation in his large organization with the forthcoming game Syrum – which he will launch at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON on September 13.
 
 
 
 
By Tim Ryan on August 21, 2012.
  • John Pugh is the Director of Digital for Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH – a group of pharmaceutical companies that specialize in research and development for prescription medicine products. He spoke to PSFK recently about driving innovation in a large organization with his forthcoming game Syrum – which he will launch at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON on September 13.

Your company has a new game, Syrum. What is it – and why is a pharmaceutical company like Boehringer Ingelheim involved in it?

What really sparked my interest in the potential of gaming is that a lot of what we do in pharma is around educating and teaching people; whether that’s teaching doctors about specific products, educating the general public and patients about diseases and healthy ways to live, or teaching people how to take their medication.

Gaming seems to be a useful way and effective way for us to do that. I basically began the journey to try and work out what I could do in gaming that wasn’t an arcade or platform based game — but was something a bit more immersive.

Syrum has been in development for at least two years. At the beginning, we called in lots of experts from different industries, different locations in countries, and with different skill sets. We had various leaders, from specialized futurologists to branding experts, from pharma people to gaming people, and even young entrepreneurs who’d made a million dollars by the age of 17.

We really worked together to create a vision of the future, and one of the strong things that came through was the influence of gaming and gamification.

After two years of hard work, the result is that we are about to launch Syrum, the pharmaceutical industry’s first social game.

syrum-boehringer-ingelheim

Can you tell us a little more about the gameplay in Syrum?

Syrum is a social game. The health of the world is in your hands, and you’re the only one who can save it. In each chapter, you have to solve a particular problem, which could be a disease or a pandemic that is sweeping the world. The player’s goal is to discover cures, create a stable drug, and then create a clinical trial so that you can launch the drug and cure the disease.

It’s a social game, because you can collaborate with friends or other people, and you can give them gifts, even headhunt their staff. As the game progresses, it gets more and more complicated.

syrum-boehringer-ingelheim-game

What do you think people will get out of it?

First, it’s a fun game. It wasn’t built with a view to being an educational platform or anything like that. It’s very much a game which is meant to be engaging and entertaining to play. In the same way that Farmville doesn’t just appeal to people who like farms, Syrum isn’t just for people who like the pharmaceutical industry. It’s for anyone to play.

It’s built on Facebook because that’s the world’s biggest gaming platform. What we really wanted to do was try to use a lot of the features of Facebook. For example we leverage Facebook Places, a service where people can check into locations. It’s really bridging that offline/online world. Places helps players market the products they make. Wherever the players check in through the Facebook mobile app, that data gets integrated into the game and you get rewarded accordingly.

syrum-boehringer-ingelheim-game

When will it be available?

September 13. We are taking a Silicon Valley approach, where we know we have got a really good game that’s stable but we’ll launch a beta version. We really want to make it so that we get lots of feedback from the people who are playing.

We’re offering rewards and prizes for people to give feedback so that we can really create the duration of the game, and develop it, and have more of a crowdsourced collaborative effort to develop the future stages of it, so the game will grow and evolve, as more people play it. This is a very unique offering from a highly regulated industry.

Can we finish by understanding your role within the organization – and how you drive change.

My job is anything which is connected to digital, so that includes apps, mobile, websites, gaming, crowdsourcing, and so forth. Our goal is to find applications for all of that. I bring to this company new ideas and I inspire them, educate them, cajole them, prod them to try new things, particularly in digital. I want BI to stretch out beyond the traditional marketing activities because in pharmaceuticals, and particularly at Boehringer, we’re still very traditional in what we do.

Thanks John!

Come see John talk about the launch of Syrum at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON.

Syrum / @johnpugh / Boehringer Ingelheim

Click the banner below to purchase tickets and find additional information about this year’s event.

 

via PSFK: http://www.psfk.com/2012/08/pharma-social-game-psfk-london.html#ixzz24IgR5ZEm

http://www.psfk.com/2012/08/pharma-social-game-psfk-london.html

How Sanofi Is Writing The Social Media Rules For Big Pharma Without Running Afoul Of The FDA

BY BEN PAYNTER

 | 

AUGUST 20, 2012

After a Facebook PR meltdown two years ago, Sanofi has emerged as a social media leader with a robust community for diabetics. Here’s how they are writing #TheRules while the FDA catches up.

About This Series

#therules

Follow Fast Company’s roadmap to social media: surefire rules, data, and expert wisdom guaranteed to show why this market is completely unpredictable.READ MORE

The biggest challenge to treating patients with diabetes isn’t doling out medications, it’s making sure that people control their habits. Poor diet and lack of exercise generally create complications with the disease. To combat the problems, researchers in the diabetes division of Sanofi US took an unusual step for Big Pharma: they went social, jumping into online networking with a Facebook page, Twitter presence, and eventually three different engagement platforms.

“Treatment is an important aspect to blood sugar management, but it isn’t the only aspect,” says Laura Kolodjeski, Sanofi’s diabetes community manager, who has become the virtual face of the company. “There is a huge community of people already that live with diabetes and are connecting and sharing [online] to improve each other’s experience with the disease.”

 

Laura Kolodjeski

 

Sanofi now helps direct and police those interactions online. The company won’t release total visitor numbers, but it has about 4,000 followers on Facebook and another 4,000 on Twitter, all of whom are sharing links to broader content. And for better or worse that community is going to grow: About 8 percent of Americans or roughly 26 million people have diabetes, and the Centers for Disease Control predicts that as many as one third of us could have the disease by 2050.

But the social frontier is potentially prickly for Sanofi because the FDA has not yet written the rules about how pharmaceuticals are allowed to engage with potential customers and patients. The only guidelines came out in a December 2011 advisory statement declaring that while allowing virtual comments about things like off-label uses isn’t technically illegal, it’s shady territory; basically, pontificate at your own risk. “We are working on the area and it’s something we feel is important but we don’t have a specific timeline right now,” says Ernest Voyard, senior regulatory council at the FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion.

For Sanofi, drawing up their own social media strategy is also a defensive move: In 2010, the company’s cancer division suffered a PR nightmare after a patient, who claimed to have experienced permanent hair loss from one of their treatment drugs, posted complaints and photos on that group’s unmonitored Facebook page. John Mack, the editor of Pharma Marketing News, which tracks shifts in the pharmaceutical industry, says such hits are common anytime you try to pioneer a new space. “They’ve had some rough times, but they are learning a lot,” he adds.

Mack considers Sanofi a leader in the category, especially compared with the offerings from other companies. Diabetes juggernaut Novo Nordisk sponsors IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball to tweet @racewithinsulin, including when he injects with their products. And Pfizer’s ThinkScienceNow blog about developments and advances in research is wonky but not exactly customer friendly.

Sanofi has created a template they hope will eventually be deemed both acceptable to the FDA and cool for customers. The lessons they’ve learned in the last two years is a valuable addition to The Social Media Roadmap from our current issue.

Be Transparent

When she took over as social media director, one of the first things Kolodjeski did was post a bio with a photo of herself online at DiscussDiabetes to show who was moderating. She also disclosed that she wasn’t diabetic. Why? To build trust, the kind community members might not have for a faceless company run by mostly non-diabetics. The message: “If Laura is going to work every day to solve [issues] on our behalf, then others must be doing the same,” Kolodjeski says.

Rather than just explain the rules of their forums in a jargon-y “terms of use” agreement Kolodjeski also tapped Mark Gaydos, head of the company’s U.S. regulatory affairs for marketed products division, to do a Q&A about how the sites would function. For instance, anytime someone on the site mentions a product, they are technically promoting it, so there needs to be fair balance of potential benefits and risks explained alongside that per FDA guidelines. That means many posts get quarantined internally before posting, so the company can add additional links or annotations to more information. Sanofi only wants to allow discussion of FDA-approved uses for products–any mention of possible side-benefits or bonuses from tweaking the usual dose regimen is prohibited. To make sure everything meets these requirements, there is often a delay–sometimes up to 24 hours–between when users make comments and those comments become publicly visible.

To explain their business interest, Kolodjeski also interviewed Dennis Urbaniak, the head of the company’s U.S. diabetes business unit to explain what he calls the “360-degree partner” principle–an effort to inspire others to talk more and tap into that as a focus group for new ideas.

Let Users Shape Expansion

Sanofi launched their diabetes Facebook and Twitter handles in September 2010 mainly to offer news updates about the company and its offerings. On Facebook, any clinical questions were directed to a separate tab and often answered privately. On Twitter, medical concerns were covered via direct message. What was missing was a way to collect various poster’s lifestyle tips and inspirational messages all in one place. In January 2011, the company launched DiscussDiabetes to address that. They also run their own stories about successes, including highlights from A1C Champions, another company sponsored group of diabetics who have maintain the best or “A1C” target range of blood sugar levels.

By March of this year, the company took a look at the discussions that were being generated and realized that terms like A1C weren’t actually as universally understood as they once thought. To speed that learning curve, they launched Diabetepedia, which provides both simple definitions and links to other sites showing how terms are actually used in other online conversations.

The final step: After noticing how activity at Diabetepedia was spiking, Sanofi launched another site collecting lots of the content they were already linking to all in one place. The DX, which launched at the end of May, hosts daily dispatches by both Kolodjeski and stable of already popular bloggers (none of whom are paid directly) that include everything from a diabetes related comic strip to mommy blogs for parents with diabetic kids. “We really allowed the community to help identify what might be useful to them and where they might go next,” Kolodjeski says.

Give Users Even More Control

The medical glossary at Diabetepedia doesn’t just provide standard definitions to complex terminology, users are encouraged to submit their own entries, creating a sort of slang dictionary that makes complicated stuff more relatable to newcomers. For instance, glucoaster: that’s shorthand for “a rollercoaster of blood glucose levels, with blood sugar lows followed by blood sugar highs.” User contributions have helped the database grow by 30 percent to include more than 150 terms, all of which make it easier to users themselves to better convey thoughts in future postings.

The company also considers each media outpost an exclusive “channel,” which means there is lots of cross-posting of content from different platforms to make sure users who only tune into one place are being best served. “We certainly have people that overlap but for the most part people have selected which channel they feel represented by and communicate through,” Kolodjeski says. But at each stop, the company still tries to crowdsource bigger ideas.

This year, they asked users to help set priorities for the company’s annual Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge, which asks individuals, businesses and non-profits to create new initiatives for using big data to help others struggling with the disease. To help brainstorm for that, Sanofi’s social media troop was given the chance to visit a competition homepage and answer questions about what aspects of life with the disease might be consistently overlooked or ignored. Their answers were used to shape a final guideline for contestants that solutions must address the overall wellness and family life of patients, not just symptom mediation. The winner: a program created by the n4a Diabetes Care Center that matches people with certain cost or risk profiles directly to the services they might need to slow the progression or expense of the disease. Mood problems can be addressed by better disease management, hopefully cutting into the 18 percent of all diabetics who require hospitalization each year.

After realizing just how open users are to sharing and connecting, Sanofi also launched their own new product, the iBGStar, a personal blood glucose monitor that plugs directly into an iPhone or iPod Touch with an app that saves data and maps correlations between blood sugar levels and meal times, carb and sugar intake, and physical activity. Users can share results with their family or email them to health care providers. But the product, which hit the market in May 2012, wasn’t just inspired by early community actions; ensuing reviews and comments in their own forums will help refine future updates. “It’s a big hit with the online community,” Kolodjeski says. “It’s also given us a great opportunity to prove back to them that if we hear someone comment about something, we have the ability to engage in a public manner.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that iBGStar came on the market in 2011, it was released in May 2012.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3000457/how-sanofi-writing-social-media-rules-big-pharma-without-running-afoul-fda

Lilly to develop company-wide social media strategy

11 Jul 2012

 
Nearly two years after launching its first major foray into the world of social media in the shape of its LillyPad corporate blog, Eli Lilly is developing a company-wide social media strategy.

Lilly has so far had strict rules about who can use social media on behalf of the company, authorising just a handful of people in corporate communications and government affairs, but now wants to empower other departments to do so.

“There are a lot of parts of the company that are getting interested in social media so I’m working on a strategy that will keep these aligned with one another,” Lilly’s director of corporate communications Greg Kueterman told SMI’s Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry conference on Monday.

“We don’t want to have eight different social media platforms that all look and sound very different from one another. So we’re going to try and do something where they all have their own identity but are still consistent within the company.”

Kueterman acknowledged LillyPad, launched September 2010, and the company’s Campaign For Modern Medicines, a US health policy initiative Lilly founded last year that uses Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, were set up “before we had a full blown strategy”.

“But sometimes that is important,” he said. “Because you have to know what you have, before you can make it even bigger.”

The company’s Clinical Open Innovation team, a group working to improve the drug development process, also began using social media earlier this year, with a blog and Twitter account.

The next stage for Lilly will be to continue its expansion of LillyPad (as previewed herein March), following the launch in May of a Canadian version of the corporate blog.

“We’ve started to go global with LillyPad and we’re working with a number of our affiliates to do this. Lilly Canada has been the first one out of the box to do that and they’re off to a nice start,” Kueterman said.

Discussions are underway with the company’s European affiliates in the UK and Belgium along with its operations in Mexico. “Hopefully some of those are going to be launching this year, although we don’t have firm dates yet,” Kueterman said.

“We’re excited that this is a programme that’s going to start picking up momentum. Looking ahead there are still things that we can do much better. I’m never really satisfied with the way things are going with LillyPad – I’m happy, because I think we’re doing things the right way, but I also believe that we can be even more proactive than we are.”

• Links to Lilly’s social media presences can be found in the Pharma Social Media Directory‘s blogsTwitterFacebook and YouTube sections 

http://www.pmlive.com/digital_intelligence_blog/archive/2012/jul_2012/lilly_to_develop_company-wide_social_media_strategy

What Else Can We (Really) Do?

by Greg Kueterman 07/10/12 


On Monday, I had the pleasure of presenting Lilly’s social media history and strategy at a conference in London. The history part was easy: LillyPad — our first major platform — has been around for 22 months. We’re not experiencing the Terrible Twos just yet, but we’ve still got plenty to learn.

The London audience — consisting of European and U.S. communicators and marketing experts at the Social Media for Pharmaceutical Industry conference. — warmly embraced our strategy of addressing issues such as public policy and medical innovation. And the reception was not unusual. Over the last two years, we’ve talked LillyPad in live settings from London to New York to Indianapolis to San Francisco — and our peers typically offer two thumbs up for the good work.

For that, we are grateful. But it’s a good reminder about a couple questions we need to ask more often:

What else can we be doing? What else should we be doing?

As our loyal readers, you know what we offer — and you know what you need to become more informed. We would love to hear more from you: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re always looking to enhance LillyPad, and we’ve taken a lot of steps in recent months to do so (more video, more guest blogs, and — we think — clearer, more conversational writing). And while we will remain a non-product communications vehicle, we’re open to any and all ideas that make your LillyPad experience even better.

From London (where I’ve seen more rain in three days than my backyard has seen in two months) thanks for reading!

http://lillypad.lilly.com/entry.php?id=1736

 

 

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