What’s New?

From time to time we revise our blogs – we may add new pieces or revise what’s already there. You can come here to find what’s new rather than have to go through all of the blogs to see what’s new. We will use this space to draw attention to important new trends and initiatives and meetings.

New Posts

1. An Unprecedented View of Attrition in a Corporate Portfolio – AstraZeneca

We take a look at a recent paper from AstraZeneca – “Lessons learned from the fate of AstraZeneca’s drug pipeline: a five-dimensional framework” [1].

It is really unusual for the inner workings of a company’s R&D practices and culture to be revealed to the public, especially since one can only guess as to what trade secrets may be revealed let alone inadverntally revealing intellectual property. AstraZeneca took the unusual step of publishing a paper on the inner workings of its development organization. In particular they presented a discussion on attrition in their pipeline, the causes and what they intend to do about it. We add some context to their discussion.

[1] D. Cook, D. Brown, R. Alexander, R. March, P. Morgan, G. Satterthwaite, M. Pangalos, “Lessons learned from the fate of AstraZeneca’s drug pipeline: a five-dimensional framework” Nat. Rev. Drug Disc. 2014, 13, pp. 419-429.

2. Another Unprecedented View of Attrition in a Corporate Portfolio – Chorus

We were surprised by the publication from AstraZeneca [1]. And now there is the more recent publication of the Chorus portfolio in January 2015, describing in detail how the portfolio has changed over the first ten years of the company’s existence. [2] In both cases the companies felt they had unearthed lessons that they wanted to share.  It’s great to have two peeks behind the curtains in the space of six months. What’s even more fun about the Chorus publication is that the authors present in detail all projects that have passed through the pipeline between 2005 and 2010 – 46 projects in all, showing the therapy areas, the origins (Lilly or “external”) and the fates of all projects. We take a close look at the data and find lots to discuss.

[2] P. K. Owens, E. Raddad, J. W. Miller, J. R. Stille,  K.G. Olovich, N.V. Smith, R.S. Jones & J.C. Scherer “A decade of innovation in pharmaceutical R&D: the Chorus model” Nat. Rev. Drug Disc. 14, 17–28 (2015)


Revised Posts

What do We Know about Cycle Times in the Industry? Most consortium data is not presented to the public, but bits and pieces appear in public presentation by consortium members. Because we, like many of you, lack access to the consortium data we take keen interest in the bits that get published. Recent revelations on cycle times have allowed us to extensively revise this post with data from CMR International and the KMR group, and a revision to the underpinning data in the Tufts estimate of the cost of developing a drug [3].

[3] Dimasi 2014. “Cost of Developing a New Drug”, Tufts_CSDD_briefing_on_RD_cost_study_-_Nov_18,_2014.

What do we know about Cost? The new Dimasi study cited above along with recent data from Deloitte and Thomson Reuters on project cost and the internal rate of return (IRR) led us to update this section. DiMasi now estimates the cost of developing a drug to be $2.6 billion! Not everyone agrees.

Small Molecule, Peptide, and Protein-based Drugs – The Differences and Similarities. This post had been about small molecule and biomolecular drugs with a bit of discussion about peptides. We decided to place peptides on a equal footing in the new post. Since it is true that nucleic acids, vitamins and the like are also biomolecules we elected to focus on the more precise term protein-based drugs. Did you know that eight of the top ten drugs world-wide were proteins in 2012?

Small Molecules, Peptides and Protein-Based Drugs – The Differences and Similarities – an e-Book. We had the opportunity to extensively revise our white paper, which due to its extended new length we call an e-Book. This definitive work is presented in the same pdf format as our other white papers, but with a book-length page count of over 50 pages. The book is packed with figures, tables and references gleaned from our review of the literature. This manuscript has been reviewed by six respected scientists in the field! You can find it in the Downloads section.

POC at Chorus (Lilly) and Flexion Therapeutics. We have updated this post to reflect on the aforementioned Chorus review.

Attrition – Reasons for Failure. We have updated this post to reflect on the aforementioned AstraZeneca review.

Stay tuned! There will most certainly be something important coming along to catch our attention. If you like what we are doing please drop us a note at Contact Us.