Pharma R&D Activity Surges Even Without COVID-19, Says Report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science
- Funding for early- and late-stage R&D and strategic transactions increased significantly in 2020; aggregate R&D spend for the top 15 companies reached a record high
- The number of first-time launches of novel active substances (NAS) reached an all-time high of 66 in 2020 – with success for treatments in oncology and rare diseases
- Clinical trial starts increased 8% in 2020, similar growth to the prior 3 years, with oncology trial starts reaching historically high levels
- Overall, clinical trial activity recovered from mid-year 2020 to levels above 2019 - even without COVID-19 trials
“The growth in research and development driven by new oncology drugs, new funding and strategic investments is a testament to the resilience and strength of the innovative, global biopharmaceutical industry,” said
Key highlights of the report include:
Clinical Development Productivity: This area increased slightly in 2020 but remains at historically low levels because of rising trial durations, complexity of disease targets and their associated trial protocol designs, and declining success rates. Efforts across the industry to increase productivity by expanding the use of data- and evidence-based approaches to improve trial design and speed execution are expected to yield improvements over time.
R&D Pipeline: Growth in the late-stage pipeline continued in 2020, bringing total expansion to 43 percent since 2015 - oncology drugs reached record high numbers. Growth in the early-stage pipeline – including next-generation biotherapeutics - paused in 2020.
R&D Funding & Strategic Transactions: Funding for early- and late-stage R&D increased significantly in 2020, unaffected by the disruptions of COVID-19 and reflecting a strong focus on innovative pathways and approaches to discover and develop novel therapeutics, and strategic transactions. These range from M&A through licensing and other forms of collaboration, often between large and small companies, and they proceeded at typical levels.
New Drug Approvals & Launches: Sustained investment and efforts to discover and develop innovative medicines by small and large companies yielded a record 66 new drugs globally with success in oncology and treatments for rare diseases in addition to COVID-19 vaccines.
The full version of the report, including a detailed description of the methodology, is available at www.IQVIAInstitute.org. The study was produced independently as a public service, without industry or government funding.
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