Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where Do New Drugs Come From?

Some interesting data on where FDA-approved drugs from 1998-2007 originated, and who brought them to market:
First, the raw numbers. In the 1997-2005 period, the 252 drugs break down as follows. Note that some drugs have been split up, with partial credit being assigned to more than one category. Overall, we have:

58% from pharmaceutical companies.
18% from biotech companies..
16% from universities, transferred to biotech.
8% from universities, transferred to pharma.

That sounds about right to me. And finally, I have some hard numbers to point to when I next run into someone who tries to tell me that all drugs are found with NIH grants, and that drug companies hardly do any research. (I know that this sounds like the most ridiculous strawman, but believe me, there are people - who regard themselves as intelligent and informed - who believe this passionately, in nearly those exact words).
Having run into some of those people myself, this is interesting data. But the rest of the analysis does show that university-originated drugs were more innovative and addressed more unserved markets than pharma-originated drugs.

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