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GBI Research identifies first-in-class as panacea for pharma companies

Posted: 14 June 2016 | Mandy Parrett, Editorial Assistant | No comments yet

In the face of the enormous costs involved in bringing a drug to market, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly aiming to develop first-in-class treatments to maximise return on this heavy burden, notes intelligence provider, GBI Research.

GBI Research identifies first-in-class as panacea for pharma companies

In the face of the enormous costs involved in bringing a drug to market, pharmaceutical companies are increasingly aiming to develop first-in-class treatments to maximise return on this heavy burden, notes intelligence provider, GBI Research.

The cost of bringing a single novel drug to market was estimated to be $2.6 billion in 2015, according to a recent report published by GBI Research.

GBI Research attribute onerous proof of superiority

The report states that the growth in drug research and development (R&D) costs appears to stem from an increased clinical failure rate and emphasis on proving superiority over comparator drugs. 

Dominic Trewartha, Managing Analyst for GBI Research, explains: “Due to the inherently limited life cycle of a patented drug and growing R&D costs as a percentage of net sales, the pharmaceutical industry has the highest R&D expenditure of all industries. As such, imperatives for pharmaceutical companies include reducing product development costs, maximising the annual product revenue, and optimising the life cycle of a drug, primarily by minimising the impact of the entry of generics.

“Together, these factors favour the inclusion of first-in-class pipeline products within a balanced pipeline portfolio.”

“Higher-risk programmes for innovative first-in-class products remain attractive and have led to some of the most clinically and commercially successful products over the past decade. Overall, ‘me-too’ drugs, which are structurally very similar to already-established drugs, have traditionally been highly commercially and clinically successful. These products continue to provide a well-established pathway for promising product developments due to a lower risk profile based on safer and more cost-effective incremental innovation.”

Trewartha concludes, however: “Some of the most successful products of the previous ten years have been first-in-class therapies, including Avastin (bevacizumab), Rituxan (rituximab), Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Gleevec (imatinib).”

“When 2015 FDA approvals are analysed, first-in-class products have far higher average projected sales than non-first-in-class products, indicating that this trend is set to continue in the future.”

“GBI Research believes that, despite the high risks involved in developing first-in-class products, pharmaceutical companies stand to earn high rewards through innovative development strategies.” 

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