Lifetime trends in biopharmaceutical innovation: Recent evidence and implications

December 19, 2016 Erin Righetti

Guest blog post by Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the QuintilesIMS Institute

Adequate returns on life sciences investments underpin the sustainability of the innovation lifecycle.   And these are dependent to an important extent on the variable of time:

  1. Time taken from the discovery of a new molecule until it is approved and launched—reaching patients and beginning the flow of commercial returns
  2. Time that a specific molecule has exclusivity in the market based on patents or other forms of protection—determining how long a company has to recover its research and development investment in the specific molecule as well as those that fail to ever make it to market.

Over the past 20 years, over 700 New Active Substances (NASs)—new small or large molecular entities—have successfully been discovered, developed and authorized by regulatory bodies for use with patients[i].  Over 600 of these have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are used in treating American patients.

In an upcoming report from the QuintilesIMS Institute—Lifetime Trends in Biopharmaceutical Innovation: Recent Evidence and Implicationswe profile these with a view of both measures of a molecule’s lifetime, the trends in these lifetimes over the past 20 years and by molecule characteristics—including specialty, orphan, biologics, and oncology segments, as well as the profile of the patent holders and companies that bring these medicines to market.   The commercial returns are also analyzed, showing the extent to which a small number of outlier products affect industry averages.

This research helps answer important questions for life sciences stakeholders, including the extent to which lifetime measures have improved over the past two decades, and the impact of a more competitive therapy area environment on commercial returns.

Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the QuintilesIMS Institute, will provide an exclusive first look and breakdown of the analysis of the report data at Biotech Showcase™ on Monday, January 9, 2017 in San Francisco. Copies of the report will available at the briefing.


[i] Global Medicines Use in 2020: Outlook and Implications, November 2015, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics



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Erin Righetti

Editor-in-Chief, Insight

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