New Drug Discovery Model Can Drive Pharmaceutical, Biotech Pipeline and Growth, Says New Accenture Research

NEW YORK, April 24, 2001 – With the advent of new science, technology and organizational tools, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have the imminent opportunity to enhance their discovery operating models and reap the full benefits of these innovations, according to the new Accenture research, High Performance Drug Discovery: An Operating Model For A New Era.

The research also found that the complexities and rapid influence of these new market dynamics has restricted industry leaders from achieving the ambitious pipeline goals they predicted in 1997. As a result, the industry must now increase the number of new molecular entities (NMEs) by 50 percent in order to meet 10-year growth projections.

“The executives with whom we spoke agree that changes they’ve made in specific areas of discovery have enhanced their successes in these areas, but have not had the desired overall impact,” said Dr. Pradip Banerjee, partner in the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Products practice at Accenture. “They also agree, while genomics and other new technologies are propelling the potential for drug discovery into the 21st century, leading companies must restructure their capabilities and redefine discovery processes to reap the full potential of new advances.”

Revisiting Predictions
In Accenture’s original discovery research, which was fielded in 1997, pharmaceutical companies anticipated that, by 2000:

  • Discovery timelines would be cut in half
  • Triple the number of NMEs would be delivered to development
  • Growth objectives would be achieved by focusing on therapies with “blockbuster” potential

“While the industry fell short of these predictions, new sciences and technologies promise a great deal in the development and discovery of new drugs,” commented Banerjee.

New Discovery Model: Six Areas for Change
Specifically, the research identifies six areas for change in a new drug discovery model:

  • Optimizing operational R&D – improve performance and quality of output by aligning discovery processes to strategy and integrating new scientific and information technologies with discovery-related components of the organization
  • Expediting prioritization and decision-making in portfolio management – by eliminating management bottlenecks and replacing top-down decision-making with empowered, multi-disciplinary teams and leaders
  • Improving research informatics and knowledge management – by embedding a new, integrated technology platform in R & D processes to connect disparate data, information and technologies
  • Integrating the new genomics and proteomics technologies to improve target identification and attrition; enhance lead optimization and improve clinical trial designs that speed approval; and shift from high-volume/small value drugs to the small volume/high value new paradigm of personalized medicine
  • Capturing size advantage and economies of scale – by ignoring the myth that “bigger is better” and emphasizing “critical mass” and focused performance management
  • Creating partnerships and alliances – by moving toward “virtual” entities of streamlined parent companies tied to outside alliances that: provide fast access to critical capabilities; offer the opportunity to experiment with emerging technologies; and facilitate involvement in specific disease or therapeutic areas

“Changing these six areas could significantly improve the cycle time and productivity of the discovery organizations,” said Banerjee. “It will require a critical shift in thinking, but companies that rise to the challenge of integrating new technologies and science with improved management and leveraged alliances will capture the opportunities available to them and gain an enormous advantage in the global marketplace.”

“More, the overall success of pharmaceutical companies in adapting to this new world of drug development will allow the industry to fulfill its promise of delivering high quality medicines more quickly,” he added.

The Accenture research, High Performance Drug Discovery: An Operating Model For a New Era, is based on interviews with more than 200 executives from 15 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with revenues ranging from US $1 billion to more than $10 billion. Participants shared their points of view on the current state of R&D performance and protocol success factors for drug discovery.

About Accenture
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