Pharma firms investing more in new products but returns wane

Marion Dakers
DRUG companies spend an average of $1.3bn to bring a new product from discovery to the market, up from $1.1bn on a year ago, research out today suggests.

As a string of blockbuster drugs reach the end of their life under the commercial protection of patents, pharma firms have been investing more in researching, developing and purchasing new products.

Around 64 per cent of their pipelines come from outside the company, such as through acquisitions, Deloitte found.

The 12 biggest firms launched 105 products in the last four years, with a potential value of $770bn.

But the stats show that the expected return on investment for these firms’ late-stage pipelines has fallen from 10.5 per cent in 2010 to 4.8 per cent this year.

Part of this fall is due to late-stage trial failures, which have cost firms $243bn since 2010, and the eventual peak sales generated by a new product have fallen from $816m to $466m, the report claims.

“Five of the 12 companies recorded a projected R&D return of over seven per cent this year, indicating that the leaders in the cohort are weathering the storm,” said Julian Remnant, head of European research and development advisory for Deloitte.