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The productivity crisis in pharmaceutical R&D

  • Fabio Pammolli

    ()

    (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

  • Massimo Riccaboni

    ()

    (University of Trento)

  • Laura Magazzini

    ()

    (Department of Economics (University of Verona))

We analyze the decline of R&D productivity in pharmaceuticals and its determinants. Since the molecular biology revolution, science has dramatically expanded the set of plausible therapeutic targets. However, innovation has become more difficult to achieve, and attrition rates of R&D projects have increased, especially in late-phase clinical trials. We show that the R&D productivity slowdown is associated with a higher concentration of R&D investments in high-risk domains, corresponding to unsolved therapeutic needs and unexploited biological mechanisms. We compare the strategies of European and US companies, finding differences in the composition of R&D portfolios, but no evidence of any productivity gap.

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Paper provided by University of Verona, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 06/2010.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ver:wpaper:06/2010
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