Towards the end of 2015, growing drug pipelines faced a multitude of issues that caused many manufacturers to re-evaluate their drug development programs. Recent challenges include drug pricing scrutiny, competitive development issues and ineffective clinical studies. However, manufacturers push forward with new innovations and pipeline investment in 2016. The emergence of new drug companies and new pharmaceutical agents, providing more effective clinical study results, signals that things are looking up for U.S. drug pipelines.
Overcoming 2015 Challenges
Recent events in the drug pricing arena create a more challenging landscape for pharmaceutical manufacturers. As drug pricing maintains its position in the news, healthcare stakeholders wonder if drugmakers are more cognoscente of the need to improve cost control or if it “represents the maturation of an unhealthy ecosystem primed for a more significant burn.” Whatever the catalyst, this is a needed change for the betterment of the industry. This shift provides biopharma companies with the opportunity to expand the “potential in their pipelines and [reach] the massive markets with unmet medical needs waiting to be tapped.” Targeted investments from manufacturers improves the production of more viable products and the design of better clinical trial strategy for more tangible results. Despite the setbacks in 2015, scientific advancements place the pharmaceutical landscape in a position for overall growth and more effective results in clinical stages.
Promising Opportunities for Growth
New drugs share the industry spotlight in several trending therapeutic areas. ALKS 5461 is a promising new antidepressant in development which helps improve a user’s mood and anxiety. According to Mental Health Daily, “if any drug has potential to provide potent, fast-acting relief to individuals with refractory depression – this is it.”
Other promising pipelines in the pharmaceutical and biotech landscape include Amgen, which is “poised to deliver organic products with blockbuster potential,” and their new high cholesterol treatment, evolocumab; Biogen, which is forecasted to grow its R&D expense by “10% a year from $1.4 billion during 2013 to $2.8 billion in 2020,” and their treatment called anti-LINGO-1 for an eye disease; and Celgene, which has “10 new R&D partnerships with emerging companies and leading academic institutions” and their product Otexia, an oral selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4.
Readiness at the Point of Care
The creation of more targeted treatments drives the need for improved communication channels between pharmaceutical manufacturers and payers, providers and patients. New digital platforms from companies like WebMD offer a solution to help address this need for relevant products. At the point of care, the way in which physicians interact with drugs evolves with increasing technology adoption. While manufacturers leveraged an omni-channel approach to create hype for a developing treatment historically, we see that drugmakers initiate this process much sooner than ever before. Recent data reveals that this type of early action from pharma proves effective for some late-stage pipeline treatments.
Though biopharma faced significant challenges in 2015, 2016 looks incredibly promising. New treatments, better care, and more visible results are the driving forces behind expanding drug pipelines. With key pharma players investing more energy in upholding accountability and investments in the appropriate therapeutic areas, the future of biopharma, from patient to provider, looks bright.
Stay tuned for more developments on drug pipelines within specific therapeutic classes.