The pharmaceutical industry appears to have addressed a decade-long decline in R&D productivity, according to a recent analysis from Deloitte.
In 2021, the projected R&D return on investment (ROI) rose 7%. For comparison, the ROI level in 2010 was 2.7%.
Forecast peak sales per asset hit $521 million, up more than 23% over the $422 million in peak sales in 2020.
In addition, average cycle times dipped year-on-year for the first time since 2016, falling to 6.9 years.
The development of COVID-19 therapies played a role in the gains. Phase 3 studies for such therapies were an average of 3.7 times faster than other types of Phase 3 studies.
The pandemic has led pharmaceutical companies to ramp up collaborative data sharing and data science programs, streamline protocol design and embrace other innovative strategies.
For instance, before the pandemic, the topics of real-world data and real-world evidence were buzzwords, but their use remained limited.
“Everybody had expected that retrospective clinically derived data would start to weigh more into the decision making at the FDA, but not much took place through 2018 and 2019,” said Jeff Elton, CEO of ConcertAI. “And then we had this thing called COVID, and the amount of data — and the availability and accessibility of data — increased substantially.”
The use of real-world data also has played a role in accelerating the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Elton said. “One of the reasons we feel more confident about accelerating, say, a vaccine authorization or moving down to even early school kids is the amount of data that we can now collect,” he said.
The level of real-world data related to the effectiveness and adverse events of COVID-19 vaccines is “actually pretty astonishing,” Elton added.
Biopharma investment also surged in 2021, according to a report from SVB. The SVB data showed that biopharma investment in 2021 hit $36.3 billion, a record level. In 2019, for instance, that sector attracted $15.9 billion in VC dollars and $25.6 billion in 2020.
The Deloitte research also found the cost to bring an asset to market has declined over the past three years. Last year, that cost was $2.0 billion. In 2019, the figure was $2.4 billion.
As the pandemic enters a new phase in 2022, time will tell if the pharmaceutical industry’s innovation momentum will continue.
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery, Drug Discovery and Development