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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Five Year Outlook

Outlook for the next 5 years in drug innovation

Roy Berggren, Martin Møller, Rachel Moss, Pawel Poda & Katarzyna Smietana
The decade-long crisis in the productivity of pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) has been widely discussed1, 2. Indeed, expectations of reduced returns on R&D investment have led large companies to scale back their R&D substantially in recent years, and there have also been shifts in R&D investment and activity in particular therapeutic areas by the industry overall.

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 

Decade long crisis?

What is the value of any five year plan or outlook? No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. The intellectual firepower of this article, likewise, will have to do battle with the reality of an industry that operates randomly. Without control over the randomness of FDA approvals combined with the lack of systematic training and educations that create researchers and research leaders, there is no way to predict our future. Perhaps a better approach would be to look at the 90% false findings in published research and attempt to predict if that will change.

The original assumption in predicting where we will be in five years, is the assumption that we know where we are right now. The assumption that we are in the midst of a ten year crisis is conjecture. The assumption that we can predict the future is just silly. The most scientific thing we could do at this stage of the drug industry would be to define where we are, why we succeed and fail, and what we can do to weed out more of the Cargo Cult. 

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