The pharmaceutical industry, namely Big Pharma, has dramatically shifted its R&D focus from small molecule drugs to include a rapidly increasing number of biotechnology products, according to a new analysis from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.
Tufts CSDD found that biotech products accounted for 7% of revenue generated by the top 10 selling pharmaceutical-biotech products worldwide in 2001, and accounted for 71% in 2012. The transformation, according to Tufts CSDD director Kenneth I Kaitin, has been driven by new technologies enabling the development of products that improve disease outcomes and command high prices, as well as the patent expirations on many top-selling small molecule drugs.
Mr. Kaitin noted that novel technology platforms during the last three decades have spurred an extensive pipeline of products across a wide range of therapeutic areas. For example, in 1989 only 13 biotechnology products were commercially available and by 2012, that number had grown to 210.
The analysis reported also found that: the number of biotech products in clinical trials grew 155% in 11 years, from 355 in 2001 to 907 in 2012, with Big Pharma in 2012 engaged in 40% of all biotech products in development. Additionally, financing of biotech research increased from $10.5 billion in 2001 to $103 billion in 2012, and worldwide growth in product sales grew 353% between 2001 and 2012, from $36 billion to $163 billion.
The study was conducted by Ronald Evens, adjunct faculty and biotechnology consultant with Tufts CSDD.