Astellas, Lilly grab social-media limelight

We're tempted to say that social media is a double-edged sword. But in negative circumstances, it's more like death by a thousand cuts. When things are rosy, it's 99 red balloons to the 9th power. In other words, as Pharmalot puts it, social media buzz can be both good and bad. And smart companies want to keep track of both.

According to Pharmalot's analysis of social media data from market researchers at Semantelli, the drugmakers that saw the biggest week-over-week increases in buzz factor were Astellas Pharma, with an 1,100% increase; Eli Lilly ($LLY), with just slightly less; and Pfizer ($PFE), with a 544% rise. Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX) and Amylin Pharmaceuticals ($AMLN) rounded out the top 5 with 500% and 446%.

Astellas captured attention for its new overactive bladder drug, which nabbed a recommendation from the FDA's expert advisers, triggering all sorts of excitement about approval and sales. Eli Lilly's buzz had a similar source: Its imaging agent for Alzheimer's testing won the FDA nod.

Pfizer, meanwhile, was caught up in news coverage about the American Legislative Executive Council, a conservative group in the limelight for its support of "Stand Your Ground" laws like the one cited in Florida's Trayvon Martin case. Opponents have been lobbying big companies, such as Pfizer, to withdraw their financial support from the ALEC.

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