Magazine Article | October 14, 2009

The Changing Business Of Drug Development

Source: Life Science Leader

By Dan Schell, Editorial Director, Life Science Leader

It has been said that one of the key changes pharma companies will need to make is to adopt more rapid drug development processes with the intention to eliminate unsuccessful compounds sooner and promote successful ones more quickly. Do you agree with this assumption?

Baxter: I do agree with this assumption, but my belief is based on additional assumptions. One of these is that the high failure rates in drug development that we have across our industry will not markedly improve, and the second is that drug development will continue to be a very long and expensive endeavor. So, as an industry we need to be quicker at determining which compounds have higher or lower likelihood of success and invest in each compound accordingly.

This way, compounds that look very promising can receive investments intended to move them along more quickly. And those compounds with less promise can receive only enough investment to move them to the next key decision or simply be dropped. Overall, I look at it like investing in a portfolio of mutual funds — you want to invest in a given opportunity not only with an eye toward the potential return, but with the risk in mind, too. In the end, you want a portfolio of investments (e.g. potential new drugs) that balances risk and reward.