Between 2012 and 2014, more than 11 percent of clinical trials succeeded, which meant compounds being tested survived the arduous journey from the laboratory to the pharmacy counter.
This reversed a downward trend seen over the past 20 years, according to executives at McKinsey & Co., the consulting firm that conducted the analysis and does consulting work for drug makers.
Between 1996 and 1999, the cumulative success rate was 16.4 percent, but gradually began declining in subsequent years.
From 2000 to 2003, 10.8 percent of trials succeeded before falling to 10 percent between 2004 and 2007, and then bottoming out at just 7.5 percent between 2008 and 2011.
This is a turning of the trend. Whether that is sustainable is an open question.”
The analysis, which was published last month in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, examined more than 9,200 novel compounds that were developed from 1996 through 2014.
The declines in past years likely reflected industry cutbacks, according to the McKinsey consultants.
From 2007 through 2010, many drug makers were cutting back on R&D amid large mergers and reorganizations that resulted in what was described as “pipeline pruning.”
Basically, most of the largest companies turned their backs on researching medicines for combating certain diseases and became much more selective about how they invested their research dollars.
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