Biopharma In 2011: A Year Of Transition
If 2010 was the year when pharma introduced new models, 2011 was the year it discovered that executing on its plans required a new mindset. There was a realization that pharma input and capital were required at the earliest stages of company creation. Innovation remained the order of the day, though pharma’s attempts to innovate looked strikingly similar to one another. We continued to see risk-sharing deal structures, emphasis on emerging markets, ongoing externalization and the biotech-ification of pharma, and stronger emphasis on “unmet medical need. Pharma also did more to work with VCs, payors, generics companies, and each other. The year saw a recovery in US drug approvals and launches, but the high prices associated with some of those new therapies and austerity in Europe also shed light on the health technology assessment-dominated future that likely faces most markets, including the US.
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The biopharma industry enjoyed regulatory success in 2012 that was recognized by investors. The stench from the carcasses of industry’s genericized blockbusters has begun to fade, but R&D productivity for the most part remains poor, expensive late-stage failures abound, and industry is still searching for sustainable business models.
Biopharmaceutical company financings more than doubled to $2.7 billion from Q3. There were 23 acquisitions bringing in a total of $17.7 billion. And in alliances there was a focus on biosimilars, oncology and neurology deals, and unique partnerships with clear paths to exits.
Three major drug makers inked broad alliances with the research departments of major US payors in 2011. The alliances signal that even as pharma drug makers reorients its R&D engines to be more flexible and externally focused in the hopes of shedding risk and cost, such moves are not enough.