SOURCE: Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

September 13, 2006 09:00 ET

Fastest Drug Developers Consistently Outperform Their Peers, Generating Substantially Higher Revenue and Cost Savings, According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 13, 2006 -- Drug companies that develop and launch new products faster than their peers perform consistently better across a number of dimensions, earn higher revenues, and have lower development costs, according to a newly completed analysis from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.

Between 2000 and 2005, drugs developed by the fastest companies each gained an average of $1.1 billion in incremental prescription revenue and saved an average of $30 million in out-of-pocket development costs, compared to those of the slowest companies, Tufts CSDD reported.

The findings were published in the September/October Tufts CSDD Impact Report.

"Speed demon companies -- the fastest drug developers -- are consistently implementing efficient R&D practices across their portfolios," said Ken Getz, senior research fellow at Tufts CSDD and co-author of the study. "These companies have far less development and regulatory time variability, kill projects sooner, and are better at setting resource priorities.

"In a word, being fast on one project is good, but being consistently fast across the portfolio of projects is substantially better."

According to Tufts CSDD, Bayer, Astra-Zeneca, Allergan, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Merck were the five fastest development companies in the 2000-05 period; each was able to shorten its development and regulatory cycles by as much as 17 months, compared to average performing drug developers. To assess the fastest drug developers, Tufts CSDD evaluated 104 approved drugs for 29 companies.

"Given the high direct cost of development and the substantial opportunity cost for a day of delay in reaching the market, speed and efficiency are central strategic objectives," Getz noted. "This is especially important today with steadily rising R&D costs, lengthening development and regulatory approval times, ever more complex clinical trials, and stubbornly low success rates of drugs moving through clinical development."

The Tufts CSDD study also found that:

--  As a group, the fastest third of companies reduced their median
    development speed by 20% (from 66.5 months in 1994-99 to 53.0 months in
    2000-05) and held regulatory cycle times flat at approximately 13
    months in the 2000-05 period.
--  In each therapeutic area where they compete, speed demon companies
    beat the median overall cycle time more than 83% of the time.
--  Fastest companies terminate 56% of discontinued projects in Phase I
    clinical development vs. 36% for slowest companies.
--  A one-day speed advantage typically saves $37,000 in out-of-pocket
    development costs and nets an additional $1.1 million in daily
    prescription revenue for an average performing drug.
About the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development ( at Tufts University provides strategic information to help drug developers, regulators, and policy makers improve the quality and efficiency of pharmaceutical development, review, and utilization. Tufts CSDD, based in Boston, conducts a wide range of in-depth analyses on pharmaceutical issues and hosts symposia, workshops, and public forums on related topics, and publishes the Tufts CSDD Impact Report, a bi-monthly newsletter providing analysis and insight into critical drug development issues.

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