BOSTON -- The search by brand-name drug companies for a new generation of b blockbuster drugs may give way to the development of medicines that could be more modest in scope but that produce "more predictable revenue streams," according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.
According to the Tufts Center's Outlook 2003 report, marketing and commercial interests will play an in creasingly important role in decisions to either terminate research and development efforts on unpromising products or "pursue development of compounds already in company pipelines." The report, released last month, also redicts that drug manufacturers will boost their investment in "new discovery and development technologies," such as genomics and biotech.
In addition, noted Tufts, "Firms will expand their use of e-technologies to reduce the length and cost of clinical development by improving data management, communication, patient recruitment and investigator site selection."
"Being as blockbusters are relatively rare, and the cost of new drug development continues to rise, many drug companies confronting strong and growing pressure to enhance drug development pipelines will reevaluate their traditional blockbuster development strategies," said Tufts Center director Kenneth Kaitin. "Also, as patents on several lucrative drugs expire this year, many firms will take a closer look at prescription-to-OTC switches as a way to maintain revenue flow."
Katin predicted that the most consistent profits will accrue to the drug makers that can shorten development times on new drugs, while "terminating unpromising drugs earlier in the research and development cycle.
"Although average combined clinical and approval times for new drugs introduced in the United States since 1992 has dropped an impressive 25 percent from 9.2 years to 6.9 years, the research-based drug industry still faces the major challenge of shortening development times while improving clinical success rates," Kaitin added.