Monday, April 25, 2011

Sun Pharma, Merck join hands to market diabetes drugs

India has one of the largest diabetic population in the world, and the population is going to increase dramatically in the coming years. Dominance in the Indian market place will require a large foot print, local market expertise and marketing flexibility that is uncommon in Big Pharma's "Global" marketing "one-size-fits-all" strategies. Merck understands this clearly as is demonstrated in the latest deal to market sitagliptin and its metformin combination.

Sun Pharma, Merck join hands to market diabetes drugs: "Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and MSD in India today said they have entered into a partnership to market diabetes drugs Sitagliptin and Sitaglipitin plus Metformin in the Indian market.
Under the pact, which comes nearly two weeks after the two firms had agreed to form a joint venture, Sun will have the rights to sell the two drugs in the Indian market under different brand names.
'Through this partnership, the reach of Sitagliptin and Sitagliptin plus Metformin will be enhanced amongst doctors and patients in India, helping them efficaciously manage the disease,' Sun Pharma Chief Executive Officer Kalyanasundaram said in a joint statement issued by the two firms."

The deal with Sun Pharma ensures Merck a large foot print - Sun is one of the largest pharma companies in the Indian market place - and also "local" knowledge/expertise to make success of this important market.

Cheapest Homes in 40 Years?

Barry Ritholtz shares a new metric to determine if the home prices have come down sufficiently or not.

Cheapest Homes in 40 Years? Not Even Close… | The Big Picture: "By comparing Homes costs with buyers ability to pay for them, you develop a model with periods of over and undervaluation.....I would argue the measure of Median income to Median home price a much better gauge. It tracks people’s ability to pay for homes — something the NAR model does not. Even better, its not from a biased industry spokesperson."

According to this index, the home prices today are at a 0.5 to 0.6 point higher than in the eightees. Compared to ninetees, the index indicates that the home prices are about 0.2-0.3 points higher. Thus, homes may not be cheapest ever from histotical perspective (the point Barry is trying to make), but they have come down sufficiently from the highs in 2005-7.

If you are considering real-estate as an investment, you have to think carefully - is this the right time or will the index point downwards again? I believe it will be the latter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Faceoff in Peru elections

My friends in Peru are probably disappointed that Pedro Pablo Kuczynski did not win the election. There was hope that Kuczynski would bring moderate policies back into Peru and continue with the economic reforms.

To some extent the election results were to be expected - the moderate vote got divided between President Toledo and Mr. Kuczynski, creating room for the extreme candidates - Ms Fujimori on the right and Mr. Humala on the left.

While Mr. Humala has a populist message, the question is, can he become the new Luiz Lula of Peru, one who had populist feathers but enough economic sense to not derail the reforms? On the other hand the question for Ms. Fujimori is, can she convince the large swath of Peruvians who have yet to benefit from the economic reforms, that she is the right candidate to ensure the distribution of economic benefits to all Peruvians.

Here is what the most famous Peruvian has to say about the election!

BBC News - Peru faces polarising election as populists face off: "Before the election, Peru's Nobel prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa described the possible second-round scenario between Mr Humala and Ms Fujimori as like choosing between cancer and Aids. With the option confirmed, he said Peruvians now had a choice between 'suicide and a miracle'."

The suspense continues for a couple more months!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

In Pakistan, Asher Hasan brings innovation to health-care cost, at $1.80 per month -

Finally, a diamond in the rubble of Pakistan!

In Pakistan, Asher Hasan brings innovation to health-care cost, at $1.80 per month - "By working with insurance companies to spread risk across clusters of low-income workers, who typically earn less than $200 a month, Naya Jeevan opens up high-quality health care to a segment of the population that couldn't afford it before. Each participant pays in about $1.80 per month."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Cisco Blog » Blog Archive » Message from John Chambers: Where Cisco is Taking the Network

It is often said that the hallmark of a good leader is their willingness to hear the bad news, and take transparent steps to address the issues. Cisco has published a memo from their CEO John Chambers about what ails Cisco. As a shareholder I must say that I am happy to see this level of transparency. Cisco stock has done poorly over the last five years and sometimes it has felt like the company has grown too big to be managed effectively.

But this memo seems to indicate that John wants to challenge the organization to become more nimble and take on the beast of bureaucracy. I hope that he succeeds because if he doesn't he will loose a lot of long time investors like me, who have vested their trust, and their investments in him.

Read on...

Cisco Blog » Blog Archive » Message from John Chambers: Where Cisco is Taking the Network: "today we face a simple truth: we have disappointed our investors and we have confused our employees.  Bottom line, we have lost some of the credibility that is foundational to Cisco’s success – and we must earn it back. Our market is in transition, and our company is in transition.  And the time is right to define this transition for ourselves and our industry.  I understand this.  It’s time for focus"

Cricket Mania @ Big Picture

Big Picture has done it again. Here is a GREAT compilation of some cricketing pictures that will tell you why Criketism is the fastest growing religion on the Indian subcontinent!

Click the picture above or click here

Woolen Coffins Offer a Green Alternative for Burials - TIME

Jack Welch famously said, "There is no such thing as a mature industry; there is only an industry to which imagination had yet to be applied". The following story published in Time Magazine online does more than justify this adage.

Woolen Coffins Offer a Green Alternative for Burials - TIME: "Thanks to a growing demand for green funerals in Britain, Hainsworth's Natural Legacy caskets — each woven from the fleece of three sheep and capable of holding 840 lb. (380 kg) — have begun to carve out a share of the U.K.'s coffin market, which typically numbers around 500,000 a year."

Green burials? I thought a wooden casket was very biodegradable. Yet the idea of a WOOLEN (as opposed to WOODEN) casket has a certain novelty factor. Add the "green" label and viola, you have renaissance in the wool industry! What about the dead? The dead could care less if they are buried in wooden or woolen - its the living who benefit from the innovation.

But it often takes an outsider to come up with innovative ideas. This one came from a marketing intern!
The idea for woolen coffins came about thanks to a bit of sheer luck. A marketing student who was interning for Adam Hainsworth discovered that in 1667, Parliament — hoping to bolster the textile industry — passed a law requiring all corpses be buried in a woolen shroud.

Read more:,8599,2056346,00.html#ixzz1Iesvi9qC