Current Pharmaceutical R D Pipeline Trends
by Kari Walgran on Mar 24, 2016 4:05:55 PM
Amidst soaring healthcare costs and increasingly competitive market conditions on one hand, scientific innovation and increased demand for access to care on the other, the pharmaceutical pipeline emerges as a sort of dynamic R D gauntlet that bridges the gaps between supply and demand, discovery and marketability, patient care and profit.
Within this constantly changing landscape, trend-watching is critical. In this piece, we examine current trends in the pharmaceutical R D pipeline, focusing on top products and therapeutic categories.
Drug Pipeline Growth Areas
While current R D covers a range of treatments and therapeutic areas, several major trends are clear. First and foremost, cancer drugs are king, with oncology treatments dominating both current and projected drug pipelines. Other major growth areas include immune therapies, biologics, rare-disease drugs and neurological treatments.
A number of recent reports provide details and data about critical aspects of the pharma pipeline. Readers may wish to review the full reports for in-depth analysis of market and sales projections, company and product performance, industry projections and disruptors. Here, we will examine the reports from an R D perspective to provide a glimpse of what is most likely to emerge from the pipeline in the months ahead.
Pipeline 2016 Facts and Figures
Citeline’s Pharmaprojects Pharma R D Annual Review 2016 report provides an excellent breakdown of the top therapies in the R D pipeline for 2016 (summarized below, see full report). Cancer drugs dominate the field, comprising nearly 1/3 of all drugs currently in development. First, the report lists pipeline drugs by therapy group, providing the number of drugs in the current pipeline for each:
A second breakdown lists the top 25 therapeutic categories used by Pharmaprojects to classify drugs. Here again, cancer therapies are the clear leader. The categories are ranked numerically by number of R D projects: 1
A third breakdown, this one showing the top 25 diseases and indications, again reveals an overwhelming R D interest in cancer therapies. 15 of the 25 listed indications are cancer-related.
In World Preview 2015, Outlook to 2020, EvaluatePharma examines key trends in pharma and biotech, including top therapy areas and R D outlooks. The report highlights the rise of biotech, specialty pharma, small molecules and biologics, painting an optimistic picture for pharma and biotech between 2015 and 2020.
In an analysis of projected market share and sales growth, EvaluatePharma’s analysis finds, once again, that oncology will remain the leading segment through 2020. The top 15 markets identified by the report, by therapy area, include:
- Sensory organs
- MS therapies
The report provides in-depth analysis of the top five markets, offering breakdowns of sales, key companies and products, market share and projected growth.
Medical Marketing and Media’s 2016 pipeline report, Big-Time Upside, identifies six key therapeutic categories, then provides a breakdown of key companies and products in each. Once again, oncology makes the leaderboard, along with autoimmune treatments and orphan (i.e., rare-disease) drugs:
- Other (including neurology, orphan drugs, infectious disease and women’s health)
The report notes that biosimilars are a factor, as newer biosimilar treatments may “upset biologics’ market share.” PCSK9 inhibitors, targeting high cholesterol, are also significant, along with potential breakthroughs in MS and diabetes. However, the report makes clear that cancer drugs still rule, explaining that “oncology boasts the most noteworthy R D innovations of late.”
In From vision to decision: Pharma 2020, PricewaterhouseCoopers emphasizes pharma’s current concentration on biologics for cancer and rare diseases. PwC notes that there are 460 rare-disease therapies currently in the R D pipeline in the following treatment areas (listed in descending order by number of drugs in development):