Pharma industry's most productive innovators recognised

Johnson & Johnson has topped a list of the most innovative global pharmaceutical firms, according to an industry-leading consultancy.

IDEA Pharma has just released its third annual Productive Innovation Index (PII), which ranks top pharma companies based on their ability to successfully commercialise new molecules.

The Index measures and scores the firms’ ability to deliver innovation to market, by objectively measuring their performance using publicly available data based on a five year period (2007-2012).

Last year Amgen took the top spot with Johnson & Johnson ranking second, but it has risen to first place thanks to significant developments over the past 12 months.

Mike Rea, CEO, IDEA Pharma, said: “The index is based primarily on one simple question - if you gave the same novel molecule to two companies, would they end up in the same place? And the simple answer is ‘no’, because there are significant differences in the approach taken to commercialization."

“We wanted to assess the pharmaceutical industry’s ability to add value to, and derive value from, molecules in pre-launch, so we analysed the major players based on a range of observations including speed to market, attrition rate in phase III, sales versus ostensibly similar molecules, and regulatory success."

“This year there were two major factors which contributed to Johnson & Johnson’s number one ranking. It successfully brought to market Abiraterone (Zytiga) - a lyase and steroid synthesis inhibitor for use in the treatment of prostate cancer - and furthermore it was a major riser in the Access to Medicine Index, which is of increasing global importance.”

IDEA Pharma believes that the pharmaceutical industry, while fulfilling its role in the research and development of new drugs and medical technologies, needs to look more closely at its approach to taking them to market.

With just one in five drugs that hits the market returning its investment, IDEA’s CEO argues that companies are not considering their commercialisation strategies from an early enough stage, and says those that don’t are destined to fail.

Mike said: “Innovation is not only about what you discover, it’s about what you put on the market, so a carefully-considered strategy is critical. Some companies are so eager to clear the regulatory hurdles that it creates a culture of panic leading to the wrong behaviour, and by ignoring the different requirements of today’s market, some companies are getting very good at failing."

“Roche, which kept its number 3 spot on the Index, saw the first combined launch of a drug and companion diagnostic device, but on the negative side it had to close phase III development of dalcetrapib, a potentially $20bn product."

“Sanofi, although rising one place to rank fifth, suffered a massive climbdown with Zaltrap in colorectal cancer launching at a suicidally high price which it continued to defend against increasing criticism. It eventually cut costs to 50 per cent but the damage had been done."

“And AstraZeneca is the perfect example of a company which has shown all the signs of panic over the past five years. The stress of an underwhelming pipeline has led it to make bad decisions on top of bad decisions, and although it enjoyed some top line growth by flogging its sales model, the same primary care sales model has led to poor decisions in many areas.”

But according to IDEA Pharma, it is not all doom and gloom for the industry, with some of its best known names like GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol Myers Squibb (ranked 8th and 9th respectively) getting it right. They had the highest number of new chemical entity launches, and furthermore GSK has more products in development than any other company.

The consultancy also described Takeda as “punching above its weight”, and said that when you compared Vertex’s commercial success in Hepatitis C with Merck’s, it proved that innovation is a skill in decision making rather than a factor in size.

This year Lundbeck and Astellas appeared in the rankings for the first time thanks to availability of the data required to include them in the Productive Innovation Index, and going forward IDEA Pharma hopes to compile an even more comprehensive Index, including smaller pharma firms, where the breadth and depth of data required is available.

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Productive Innovation Index 2016

Celebrating the top 30 pharmaceutical companies most successful at bringing innovations to market