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Volume 39, Issue 11
Though uncertain market dynamics remain at play, the current magnitude of innovation in biopharma is staggering, and, at times, overwhelming.
I’ve touched on this point a few times over the years, there is no such thing as an overnight success. What looks like an overnight success is really a good chunk of years of someone’s life, laboring at a point of science-in this world of therapy development-of which they couldn’t let go. And many of these innovations, while they
have a few successes, CAR-T, gene therapy, immunotherapy, are still in their infancy. Scientists may have been laboring at their research for 20, 25, 30 years, but the current magnitude of innovation is staggering, and, at times, overwhelming.
Salim Syed, head of biotechnology research, senior biotechnology analyst and managing director at Mizuho, says, “There is so much innovation going on. Biotech is going faster and faster and no longer can any one person know everything about all that is out there.” And it is clear that this innovation invasion is not lost on pharma executives themselves. Here’s a sampling of what some recent executives have said about innovation and partnering with biotech.
All of these points are not lost on Syed, who in his various roles at Mizuho, deals with the financial questions of biotech every day. To Jiminez’s point, pharma is now looking to get into technologies very early, before they are in clinical stage.
“Five years ago, you would never look at companies that were pre-Phase II; if they wanted to go public, they needed data. Now, they have no data, or are preclinical, or have very small and early 10-20 patient trials,” says
“Will that reverse trend in 2020?” he posed. As with most industries, a watchful eye is on the 2020 election year-and where these biotechs want to be is now a concerning business question.
There are certain things that can stall the pace of innovation. Past examples include an early death in gene therapy that set a chilling effect on that area in the late 1990s; transplantation advances that were shut down during the AIDS crisis; and Vioxx taken off the market in the early 2000s for CV events. Each one of these areas are now new and vital parts of therapeutic innovation, but they had to weather a storm, and in the end, the science grew stronger.
Financial pressures from uncertain market dynamics, including elections and overall drug pricing and reimbursement concerns, all have effects. But how chilling will they be? With the pace of massive innovation, it seems nothing can stem the tide.