A report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) describes the biopharmaceutical pipeline as "innovative and robust," with a high percentage of possible first-in-class medicines and therapies for diseases with limited treatment options.


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PhRMA: Biopharmaceutical pipeline looks promising

January 17th, 2013

WASHINGTON – A report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) describes the biopharmaceutical pipeline as "innovative and robust," with a high percentage of possible first-in-class medicines and therapies for diseases with limited treatment options.

Developed by the Analysis Group and supported by PhRMA, the report released Thursday shows that more than 5,000 new medications are in the pipeline globally. Of the medicines in various phases of clinical development, 70% are potential first-in-class drugs, which could provide new approaches to treating disease for patients.

"Biopharmaceutical companies, working with other partners in the American research ecosystem, have made incredible progress in helping confront some of the most challenging and costly diseases facing patients around the world," PhRMA president and chief executive officer John Castellani said in statement. "With more than 5,000 medicines in development for patients suffering from a wide range of diseases, there is a palpable excitement around the biopharmaceutical pipeline and the future opportunities for new, cutting-edge medicines to improve patient care and bring value to the entire U.S. health care system."

PhRMA noted that many of the medicines in the pipeline are for diseases that haven't had new therapies approved in the past decade. For example, 158 potential medicines are for ovarian cancer, 19 are for sickle cell disease and 41 are for small-cell lung cancer.

The report also reveals that personalized medications represent a growing share of the pipeline, and the number of potential new medicines for rare diseases averaged 140 per year in the last 10 years versus 64 in the previous decade.

"Since 2005, the number of new medicines in development has grown by 40%," stated PhRMA chairman John Lechleiter, who is chairman, president and CEO of Eli Lilly and Co.

"Our industry has been able to advance scientific discovery — along with the roster of potential new medicines — thanks in part to a policy environment that enables medical innovation to flourish," Lechleiter explained. "Public policies that value intellectual property, a strong regulatory system and free-market access for patients are critical to maintaining a robust innovation ecosystem and continuing to make progress fighting disease."

The biopharmaceutical research sector accounts for almost 4 million jobs in the United States, and the industry's impact on the economy is $917 billion annually, according to PhRMA. Over the last decade, PhRMA member companies have invested $500 billion in research and development of new therapies for a broad range of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and HIV/AIDS.

"On the eve of the presidential inauguration and in the midst of challenging fiscal pressures, we should renew our focus on the benefits of medical innovation for patient care, the economy and U.S. jobs," added Castellani. "The president has continually stressed the importance of innovation as a cornerstone to improving health and the U.S. economy, but to achieve these goals we need patient-centric policies and continued collaboration among the public and private sectors."

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