In the Pipeline this morning posts the results of a new study looking at the problem of R&D productivity in the pharma industry. These author's argue that the industry's problems may stem from too much innovation and not from too little. They note that drug failures have increased in all phases of the pipeline and especially in phase III as developers have tried to create new drugs for tough diseases like Alzheimer's, cancer and Parkinson's -- versus say HIV or cardiovascular disease where beter targets exist.
They note that pharma R&D programs have reacted to 3rd party payer and regulator signals that "me-too" drugs will be tougher to get approved (without clear benefits) and reimbursed. This has led to development in new therapeutic categories, with new targets, with more uncertain outcomes. This has also led to a higher failure rate. The authors state the re-orientation (enrichment) of drug pipelines to these more novel areas accounts for the majority of increased attrition we are seeing with drug R&D programs.
So it is being too novel -- not being too "me-too" -- that is causing all our trouble. Interesting perspective.
Posted by Bruce Lehr July 5th 2011.