In 2011 the pharmaceutical industry was presented with a major challenge. The peak of the patent cliff was approaching with over $30 billion in sales at risk in 2012 alone. To make matters worse, over $200 billion of prescribed drugs would be vulnerable to generic competition later in the decade. Changes to the industry were swift and dramatic. Mergers, acquisitions, divestments, layoffs, and increased focus on core competencies led to a dramatic shift in resources from internal drug discovery to outsourcing.
Five years later, the industry has stabilized and the S&P Pharmaceuticals Select Industry Index has averaged returns over 15% per year. Despite the return to solid financial footing, the trend around outsourcing drug discovery remains stronger than ever. Here are 3 key trends that we expect to impact outsourcing of drug discovery in 2016.
#1 – Consolidation
In the early days of drug discovery outsourcing, a very diffuse global network took shape. Hundreds of niche providers emerged to fill the gap left by decimated pharma R&D departments. There was limited coordination of outsourcing efforts within pharmaceutical companies. As the trend continued and external research partners played a larger role in drug discovery, pharmaceutical companies looked for better ways to manage these relationships.
The desire for high quality “one-stop” providers was emerging and DiscoverX responded quickly by adding thousands of new target-based and phenotypic assays through internal R&D and the acquisitions of KINOMEscan® and BioMAP® technology platforms. From the hundreds of providers that emerged in the early wave of outsourcing, few remain and large pharmas continue to consolidate testing with high quality “one-stop” providers like DiscoverX.
#2 – Speed
The pace of drug discovery continues to accelerate. At the early onset of this trend, monthly testing cycles were the norm unless customers were willing to pay exorbitant fees for expedited work. Automation, process improvement, and miniaturization had a significant impact on what was expected by pharmaceutical companies of service providers.
Now, organizations like DiscoverX are often delivering data within days instead of weeks or months. Pharmaceutical companies demand faster delivery without a significant impact to cost and the infrastructure to accommodate these needs resides in very few organizations. The KINOMEscan division of DiscoverX is now the only service provider to offer data to customers within 72 hours.
#3 – Academic/Industry Partnerships
Academic institutions and not for profit organizations are playing an expanding role in drug discovery. The Academic Drug Discovery Consortium lists 143 active centers and in 2016, tens of millions of dollars will be spent in academic/industry partnerships. The KINOMEscan division of DiscoverX plays a significant role in these partnerships. Some of our recent contributions include partnering with the Structural Genomics Consortium on epigenetics, GSK, Pfizer, Takeda, and the University of North Carolina for kinases.
The entire DiscoverX organization offers multiple assay solutions for any drug discovery program. From established drug targets like kinases and GPCRs, to emerging targets like bromodomains and the BCL2 family, through cutting edge phenotypic screening models, DiscoverX has proven to be the most complete solution provide for drug discovery outsourcing.
Visit our website to find out more about DiscoverX drug discovery services!