Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Recent trends in Pharmaceutical R&D

Citeline have released their 2015 Annual Review regarding the trends in pharmaceutical R&D. Ian Lloyd, the reviewer for the past 25 years gives insights into new trends and the implications of them. In this blog I shall summarise the main points that are discussed, however for more detailed analysis the whole whitepaper has to be read. 

One of the main focuses of the paper is total pipeline size and this year the figure has once again risen. The increase of 8.8% from 2014 takes the number of drugs in the development pipeline up to 12,300. The study then broke down the pipeline into different clinical stages and found that the phase with the highest number of drugs was in the preclinical phase. 6061 drugs were found to be in the pipeline in 2015 in the preclinical phase compared to 5484 in 2014. The mostly sought after data is from the three stages of clinical development. For the three stages there were increases across the board; for phase one, two and three there were increases of 4.9%, 7.0% and 8.6% respectively.

The report goes on to break down the pipeline figures into which companies are doing the best in terms of pipeline size. The top 25 is given but I have picked out the top 3:
  1. 1. GlaxoSmithKline – 258 drugs in the pipeline (2015)
  2. 2. Novartis – 245 drugs in the pipeline (2015)
  3. 3. Roche – 234 drugs in the pipeline (2015)
GlaxoSmithKline remains top of the pile despite slipping from 261 drugs in 2014 with the two next companies trading positions from 2014. A notable point in the table is that UK based AstraZeneca took 4th spot after fighting off a huge takeover bid from US based Pfizer who could only make 7th. However, how long can AZ fight off the Pfizer onslaught? More takeovers are likely because as it stands there are 3,286 companies with active pipelines. 56% of these companies are very small and Lloyd believes they could easily be gobbled up. The majority of the companies are found to be from the United States; 47% of R&D companies have headquarters in America, only losing 1% to the UK from 2014.

In terms of what therapeutic areas are dominating the pipelines, anticancer still leads the way with biotechnology a close second, despite not strictly being a therapeutic group. The worst performer was in the neurological area which only had a 4.5% increase from 2014. In terms of individual diseases, cancer types lead the way with 15 out of the top 25 being forms of cancer. The highest number of active drugs which are non-cancer are for rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes that came 4th and 5th respectively in the study.

Of all the drugs in the pipeline, the vast majority came from a synthetic chemical source. 6771 came from that origin with second being biological protein antibody with 1267. Out of all these drugs the study showed that almost half were injectable (47.4%) and the next most being oral at 37.6%.

As can be seen, there are very positive things happening in the pharmaceutical R&D world currently with the number of drugs increasingly year on year. Increasing numbers of companies are getting involved in the creation of new drugs which is very important for beating and helping patients in need. To read more in detail about what has been happening please read the full article. 

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.




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