Rethinking Innovation in Pharmaceutical R&D Health & Life Sciences
The pharmaceutical industry is facing a challenge to be productive. One of thesolutions to this problem is for the industry to better harness innovation todeliver more and better drugs through the pipeline.
But what is innovation and how can it deliver higher performance throughmore valuable drugs? Historically, pharmaceutical innovation has been seen to be firmly rooted in Discovery. The focus has been on the pursuit of first-in-class products based on new targets1. However, new research by CMR International and Accenture challenges the view that investment in thistype of innovation alone will solve the productivity gap. The research showsthat projects based on new targets are slower and less likely to get to marketthan those based on established targets2. Hence, they substantially increasethe risk in pharmaceutical research. In addition, there is evidence that laterentrants based on known mechanisms and designed specifically to be best inclass often displace first-in-class products in the marketplace.
Based on these findings and on wider research into what makes high-performing businesses tick, Accenture believes that companies pursuing highperformance need to rethink their innovation strategies. Companies must takea broader view of how and where they innovate. Applying novel approachesthroughout the organization and across the entire R&D process may be thetrue key to higher levels of productivity. Innovation in Discovery is clearlyimportant and the portfolio needs to be carefully balanced to maintain riskwithin acceptable limits and to deliver expected levels of output. But it is not in itself sufficient.
Figure 1: The top 10 selling pharmaceutical products in 2003 include just one first-in-class product Manufacturer First-in-class 2003 sales $ billion Procrit / Eprex (epoetin alpha) Johnson & Johnson Figure 2: Scientific innovation Implications of investment Success rate by Discovery phase for in scientific innovation new and established target projects
deliver a successful product to market. Established
shows that to deliver one submissionper year, a company focusing
Figure 3: Median duration by Discovery phase for new and established target projects
in lead optimization, which is 17months longer for new target products.
established target projects also havehigher requirements for
demonstrating hits in lead discovery. Established Focus on scientific innovation does not mean greater commercial success Re-thinking innovation for high performance
creating commercially viable products. “Innovation is not about new targets, it is about successfully bringing to market a product that meets an unmet medical need .” Dr. Jan-Anders Kaarlson
transition through the R&D pipeline.
project rather than keeping it going.
and providing incentives, as well asrewarding innovation more broadly.
What to do tomorrow Managing risk, holistic innovation
drive productivity through innovation:1. Assess the risk associated with
the risk, timelines and resourcerequirements in pharmaceutical R&D. 1. Assess the risk associated with
However, it does not necessarily increase
Scientific innovation can create asignificant amount of risk in R&D
Figure 4: The number of new Discovery projects that must start each year to
different levels of risk in the pipeline. consistently deliver one submission
to make more informed decisionsabout the level of risk resulting from scientific innovation that isacceptable and appropriate for
2. Innovate all the way to market Companies need to assess how well they currently use innovation to add Established New target
1 No public data is available on the target and no drugshave been developed for it.
of Discovery, Development andCommercial. In doing so, they may
2 Either some public data is available but the company hasnot previously worked on the target, or the company has
previously worked on and has experience with the target. Accenture in Europe / Middle East / Africa / India Accenture in the Americas / Asia / Pacific CMR International
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