Global pharmaceutical sales are set to continue rising beyond the $1 trillion milestone reached in 2014, according to newly-released figures.
Despite the well-documented post-2005 ‘Era of Scarcity’ in R&D productivity, the analysis identifies positive growth in the number of new molecular entity (NME) approvals, and forecasts pharma industry sales to continue growing to $1.3 trillion by 2018.
It also reveals a positive shift in NMEs, with 46 launches in 2014; the highest in over a decade.
Furthermore, the 44 new drug application and biologic license applications submitted to the FDA throughout 2014 had an overall approval rate of 93%. This, the authors say, suggests an improvement in R&D productivity. For comparison, the lowest figure for this category in the last decade was 18, in 2007.
Other key findings of the study, drawn from the 2015 CMR Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook from Thomson Reuter, include:
- Diversification increases NME launches: One third of launches in 2014 were for rare indications, mainly within Anti-cancer. More than 65 percent were specialty drugs for the treatment of Anti-cancer, Hepatitis C Virus and HIV.
- Anti-cancer dominates: Anti-cancer development continues to attract the highest amount of investments across all therapeutic areas; with the majority of recent launches receiving orphan drug status from regulatory authorities.
- An increase in failing fast and cheaply: A decline in the early development pipeline coupled with a growth in the late development pipeline and success rates are indicative of the industry’s improving ability to “fail fast, fail cheaply”. This increases the speed of potentially successful compounds through development.
The report concludes: “The data presented highlights an industry that demonstrates an ability to respond successfully to various challenges to improve R&D productivity overall.”
While Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters IP & Science, comments: “This is an extraordinary year for pharma. Not only do the critical insights provided by the Factbook challenge negative perceptions, but it demonstrates this industry’s continued commitment to creating and employing innovative solutions to tackle its largest hurdles.”
By Joel Levy