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Phesi Releases Annual Analysis of Clinical Development for 2023


New analysis for 2023 shows signs of post-pandemic recovery; breast cancer remains most studied disease area.

Image Credit: © ipopba - stock.adobe.com

Image Credit: © ipopba - stock.adobe.com

Phesi has released its annual global analysis of all clinical trials conducted in 2023.1 Using data from its Trial Accelerator platform, Phesi’s analysis of over 65,000 recruiting trials showed that breast cancer was the most studied disease area for the third consecutive year followed by solid tumors. Rounding out the top is stroke, COVID-19, and prostate cancer.

“The positive news is there has been an increase in trial recruitment across all the top five indications in 2023. What has been especially notable is the increase in solid tumor trials—these are likely to be the foundation of innovative cancer therapies, and investment in this area is a promising sign for patients,” said Gen Li, PhD, Phesi president, in a press release. “Meanwhile, we have seen a marked reduction in investment into COVID-19 therapies in 2023, likely due to there being fewer available patients. The prospective market for COVID therapies is less attractive for investment, and we expect to see this downward trend to continue.”

While the top five most studied disease areas have stayed the same for two consecutive years now, COVID-19 was previously the second most studied disease area in 2022.

The analysis also revealed another continuing trend from 2022—increasing attrition rates for Phase II trials. In 2023, 28% of clinical trials were cancelled during Phase II—a rate that averaged around 20% before the pandemic. According to the press release, “These high levels of attrition at Phase II may slow the rate at which new therapies reach market and are likely to have an ongoing effect on the clinical development industry, adding to rising costs. Moreover, it is likely that Phase III cancellations will rise in the coming years; trials that struggled to meet goals during Phase II have a higher likelihood of not reaching the end of Phase III successfully.”

“While there was a slight improvement in cancellation rates in the second half of the year, the data indicate that 2024 will pose further challenges to portfolio managers and trial planners. Ultimately, the clinical development industry is beginning to recover from the pandemic, but we can expect the long-term impact to stretch into 2025,” continued Li in the press release. “To minimize the impact of disruption, there is a growing need for trial design and execution to become more data-led. Using predictive analytics in protocol design, simulating trials, and using digital patient profiles will reduce unnecessary amendments, accelerate development and importantly, get therapies to patients faster.”


  1. Phesi releases 2023 analysis of clinical development; breast cancer remains most studied disease area for third year. (2023, January 16). Phesi.
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