Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2001 (Revised August 2005)

Medicines Company, The

by John T. Gourville


It is early 2001 and the Medicines Co. just received FDA approval to market Angiomax, a blood thinner to be used during angioplasties and heart procedures. It is intended to be a better alternative to Heparin, an 80-year-old drug that costs less then $10 per dose. The company believes it can sell Angiomax for a much higher price than Heparin--but how much more? Angiomax also represents the first of several drugs being developed under a rather unique business model. The company is in the business of "rescuing" drugs that other companies have given up on--i.e., they purchase or license the rights to drugs that other companies have halted development on, with the intent of completing the development process and bringing the drug to market. With the success of Angiomax, the company feels that this business model has been validated.

Keywords: Business Model; Change Management; Decision Choices and Conditions; Cost Management; Price; Product Marketing; Product Launch; Product Development; Risk and Uncertainty; Health Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry;


Gourville, John T. "Medicines Company, The." Harvard Business School Case 502-006, July 2001. (Revised August 2005.)