[Ip-health] news: pharmatimes- Drugmakers reliant on older compounds as R&D fails to produce

Terri - Louise Beswick Terri at haiweb.org
Mon Jun 28 04:24:43 PDT 2010

Drugmakers reliant on older compounds as R&D fails to produce

28 June 2010


The pharmaceutical industry continues to rely heavily on sales from "an
aging portfolio of drugs", highlighting again the sectors lack of R&D
productivity, claims a new report.


The proportion of total sales from newer drugs has dropped, according to
data released in the 2010 Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook complied by CMR
International, a Thomson Reuters business. It notes that the majority of
sales for the world's drugmakers are derived from the most mature
treatments, with the top three drugs for a company on average
contributing 44% of total turnover.


The study goes on to argue that a general decline in success rates for
new drugs "also has taken its toll on productivity and indicative of
this is a doubling of Phase III terminations in the period 2007-2009
compared with those in 2004-2006". Further analysis reveals that "less
than one in 10 drugs reaching 'first toxicity dose' can now expect to be
successfully launched".


The proportion of total sales from drugs launched within the last five
years has dropped to below 7%, compared with 8% in 2008, notes the CMR
report, which adds that 26 new molecular entities were launched onto the
global market in 2009, up from 2008's 20-year low of 21. R&D expenditure
dropped by 0.3% in 2009, down from 6.6% in 2008 "and in stark contrast
to the growth rate of previous years", while 17.9% of that spend was
allocated to anti-cancer drugs, making it the therapeutic area receiving
the largest proportion of investment.


The data shows that "poor productivity in 2009 continued to be
exasperated by the low success rate for drugs in late stage development
and a decline in sales from new drugs," said Hans Poulsen, head of
consulting at CMR. He added that "the increase in NME launches compared
with 2008 offers some positive news" but with data indicating a
continued drop in overall success rates, "it remains to be seen if the
industry can reverse a ten-year trend in declining R&D output."


UCB chief - 42% failure rates in Phase III

Safety and efficacy issues are the main cause of attrition in drug
development, with 42% of compounds failing in Phase III trials,
according to UCB's chief executive, Roch Doliveux, speaking in Brussels
earlier this month, writes Lynne Taylor.


Drugmakers are attempting to deal with this through a range of
initiatives such as reaching earlier decisions on drugs candidates -
including generating key data that de-risks the project and increases
the probability of success - and moving "preferred" candidates faster
through R&D to drive efficiency and reduce attrition, he said.


Othres are collaborating more intensely, with shared costs and risk and
exploitation of "open innovation," he told the annual stakeholder forum
of the European Union/industry's Innovative medicines Initiative,
adding: "every company realises that no drugmaker or university in the
world can address these issues on their own."



By Kevin Grogan



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