How to Revive Breakthrough Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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Science Translational Medicine  29 Jun 2011:
Vol. 3, Issue 89, pp. 89cm16
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002273

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Over the past 20 years, pharmaceutical companies have implemented conservative management practices to improve the predictability of therapeutics discovery and success rates of drug candidates. This approach has often yielded compounds that are only marginally better than existing therapies, yet require larger, longer, and more complex trials. To fund them, companies have shifted resources away from drug discovery to late clinical development; this has hurt innovation and amplified the crisis brought by the expiration of patents on many best-selling drugs. Here, we argue that more breakthrough therapeutics will reach patients only if the industry ceases to pursue “safe” incremental innovation, reengages in high-risk discovery research, and adopts collaborative innovation models that allow sharing of knowledge and costs among collaborators.


  • Citation: B. H. Munos, W. W. Chin, How to Revive Breakthrough Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Sci. Transl. Med. 3, 89cm16 (2011).

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