Return on drug R&D dropping


The pharma industry is getting less and less return on investment in R&D, according to a report. But the trend seems to be bottoming out and – on a more positive note – there are more compounds going into late stage development.

Consultants Deloitte and data firm Thomson Reuters looked at twelve pharma companies and estimated the projected financial returns from the R&D investment in their late stage pipeline, comprising products that are in Phase III trials, but have yet to be approved for marketing.

They found that the return fell from 7.7% in 2010–11 to 7.2% in 2011–12, but the number of number of compounds entering the late stage pipeline more than doubled from 35 to 78.

Overall, the results present a mixed bag for the optimists. The number of approvals increased from 32 to 41, but the total forecast sales of all approvals fell by a third, from $309 billion (£192 billion) to $211 billion. Meanwhile, the total forecast sales of candidates in late stage pipelines declined from $1,370 billion in 2010 to $1,050 billion in 2012.


Related Content

The hunt for innovation

31 January 2014 Premium contentFeature

news image

Big pharma companies are embracing a more open and collaborative approach. Nuala Moran discovers who’s working with whom

Protecting patients at all costs

23 August 2012 Comments

news image

Suffering stagnant output, and beset by patent expiries and spiralling costs, drug discovery is in poor health. Simon Campbel...

Most Read

Magnetic resonance taken to the limit

21 November 2014 Research

news image

Technique can read the spin of a single nucleus opening up a new way to investigate proteins and complex molecules

Boron and beryllium finally shake hands

24 November 2014 Research

news image

Never-before-seen bond observed between periodic table neighbours

Most Commented

A year of water splitting from one device

21 November 2014 Research

news image

Coating protects electrodes from corrosion to keep photoelectrochemical cell running

Nanostripe controversy in new twist

24 November 2014 Research

news image

Creator of striped nanoparticles insists questions over structures have already been answered and accuses critics of a 'perso...