Biomedical innovation and the commitment of pharmaceutical companies to research new drugs do not stop after the efforts made in the fight against the pandemic. That is shown by the latest Efpia Pipeline Innovation Review, carried out by the consultancy firm Iqvia for the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Efpia).
The study shows that there are currently more than 8,000 drugs under investigation, 10% of which are specific for rare or infrequent diseases. Of these molecules that pharmaceutical companies have in clinical development around the world, almost 70% are first-in-class, i.e., break new ground.
Specifically, the report indicates that a total of 6,835 clinical trials were launched worldwide in 2021, a historic figure that is almost 20% more than the number of trials in 2020 (with 5,537 trials) and more than 50% higher than clinical trials just four years earlier, in 2017, when 4,457 trials were initiated worldwide.
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In 2021, more than 6,800 clinical trials were launched worldwide
“These figures are a clear indicator of a pharmaceutical industry at the forefront of science, an industry that continues to invest heavily in finding new treatments for hundreds of medical conditions,” assures Nathalie Moll, CEO of Efpia.
In the last five years, five therapeutic areas have been the focus of much of the research into new drugs. These are oncology (24% of all trials); infectious diseases (12% of the total), neurology (10%), hematology (8%), and endocrinology (6%).
The report also highlights the commitment of the pharmaceutical industry to research into new drugs for rare diseases in recent years. Thus, in the last decade, there has been a constant increase in the number of clinical trials for these pathologies and they now represent between 10% and 12% of the total.
The Iqvia report also focuses on the place of origin of the research. This confirms the decline that is being experienced in Europe in the field of biomedical research and development (R&D), compared to the United States and the new emerging countries. The latest data show that, of the total number of clinical trials initiated in 2021, up to 30% were launched in Asian countries, while the United States was the second region, with 27%, and Europe is already in third place, with 23% of all trials.
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