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Cymbalta Case Study Analysis

Executive Summary

Introduction: The Problem
It’s April 2000 at Eli Lilly and Company where their flagship product Prozac is the leading brand of anti-depression medication and is set to expire in December 2003. Even though that is the official patent expiration date, no one within the company could be sure exactly how much time Prozac had left (Okef & Laufner, p.1). Patent expiration would mean that generic versions of the drug would flood the market and Prozac’s current $2 billion in annual sales would create a huge revenue gap (Okef & Laufner, p.1). John Kaiser, Marketing Director at Lilly is asked to give a presentation on a topic developing a successor to the now legendary anti depressant Prozac, which later on Kaiser titled “No Pain, No Gain.” He presented an overview of what depression is exactly and analyzed the effectiveness of Cymbalta comparing it to Prozac. After a four-and-a-half long marathon, some challenges and concerns were raised by some of the senior leaders of Lilly about their doubts that Cymbalta could in fact replace the leading brand.

Strategic Planning
In 1998, the New Antidepressant Team (NAT) was formed by two colleagues at Lilly: Mark Demitrack and Brett Schmidli, and later asked two other members Jim Lancaster and John Kaiser to join them based on their professional experience. The mission of the team was to find and develop a drug that would later replace Prozac. They quickly and efficiently narrowed down their options to “Five Assets” – five already existing products and/or market segments with enough promise to be potential Prozac successors (Okef & Laufner, p.7). However, out of these “Five Assets, Cymbalta – a drug developed by Lilly in the early 90s, was discontinued in Phase 2 testing after it failed to show reduction in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), the most severe form of…...

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