According to the report, the industry is evolving its model through maintaining innovative output while also standardizing approaches to measuring effectiveness, with 40% using QbD for analytical and technology, 18% using Six Sigma, 15% stage gate and 12% lean techniques to evaluate effectiveness. Moving between clinical stages, balancing long and short-term goals was seen as a major challenge (53%) and improving efficiency (38%) also highlighted the growing efforts to improve ROI between stages, based on the report findings. Additionally, the report finds that more companies are involving the commercial side at an earlier stage with 30% beginning in preclinical and a further 30% prior to Phase III.
Almost a quarter of respondents cited cancer as a major focus area for 2014, with antibiotics (13%), cardiovascular (12%) and CNS (12%). Outside of cancer, the report claims that improved drug delivery mechanisms are targeted as 17% were investing in nanotechnology and 12% directly in drug devices.
The source of innovation is increasingly diverse, according to the report, with growing partnerships (75%), mergers (20%), and out/in-licensing of technology (55% and 60% respectively). Also, a major factor in competitiveness now and in the future, is access to technology, where the report indicates a more collaborative approach that should enable the industry to continually innovate and access crucial technology to move projects forward. For access to new techniques and technologies, 33% of respondents were partnering with research institutes, a further 15% with research-focused companies, and 10% with universities.
“With product development processes being increasingly managed through quality and control methods, the cost of and access to technology will be the essential access point on many projects ultimate viability,” said Chris Kilbee, group director Pharma.
The report concludes that there is a clear desire to ensure future R&D spend is prudent and focused on bringing products to market faster- and not just innovative targets, by monitoring processes more closely and standardizing approaches for quicker transfer between phases. The report also mentions an ‘open innovation approach’ to technology will enable reduced R&D timelines and better results.
Chris Kilbee added, “What we are now seeing is the maturation of the R&D sector having gone through a period of change over the last few years with innovation moving downstream from big pharma. However, we are now at a point where innovation is coming in from new and more diverse fields as different areas of science collaborate and bring new techniques into pharma production. This trend coupled with a commitment to tackle long term project viabilities, alongside standardized methods for practice, should help reduce bottlenecks in the pipeline and bring more targets to market in a more cost effective manner. It is a really exciting period for the R&D sector with new ideas, nanotechnology and manufacturing techniques and process bringing a new rigor and commercial focus to future projects.”