New findings from an IQVIA report show the biopharmaceutical industry is sparking with activity with an astounding 6,000 products in development and new geographical locations seeing the boom.

While it was a concern that COVID-19 would slow down new ventures in the biopharmaceutical sector, the reality has been just the opposite.

According to Murray Aitken, IQVIA’s Senior VP and Executive Director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, “the pandemic has accelerated biopharmaceutical innovation.”

IQVIA measures its success of novel molecules in clinical trials by clinical development productivity, which experienced a decline across all disease areas in 2021, except for, of course, vaccines and in cardiovascular. In 2021, IQVIA amounted 84 novel active substances, covering both small molecules and biological substances – double the numbered of product launches from just five years ago.

IQVIA’s lower success rate can be attributed to “tougher clinical challenges taken on by drug companies.” But despite its lower clinical development productivity, a higher volume of experimental drugs in development has allowed the biopharmaceutical industry to achieve a higher number of new drug approvals and launches.

Currently there are more than 6,000 products in active development, which is a 68% increase compared to 2016 – proof that despite the vast disruptions inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the life sciences sector is committed to investing and advancing new therapies and vaccines across a wide range of diseases.

IQVIA’s Report Highlights

  • 3 therapeutic areas with the most growth are oncology, gastrointestinal disorders, and neurology
  • More than 40% of products in oncology’s pipeline are for rare cancers with a focus on next-generation treatments like cell and gene therapies
  • Neurology’s research is mostly concentrated on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • More than 3,000 life sciences companies are involved in R&D work
  • 44% of the research pipeline is from the U.S.
  • 12% of research pipeline is from companies based in China (up 2% from a decade ago)
  • Europe’s share has fallen to 25%
  • Japan’s share is at 6%
  • Most of the research is attributable to emerging companies (those with  less than $200 million in R&D expenses and annual revenue less than $500 million)
  • These emerging companies accounted for 65% of molecules in R&D (up from less than 5 years ago)
  • 46% of these molecules are from North American companies
  • 20% of these molecules are from European companies
  • China is gaining share with 17% of the total pipeline

See the full report here for more details.