Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Biopharmaceutical companies are under relentless pressure to increase speed and productivity and to streamline development processes without sacrificing safety, ethics and stewardship. They also must create better value and greater accessibility for patients worldwide.

The released on Tuesday by Quintiles gauges the opinions of industry executives and patients as well as tracks the progress in “New Health” – the term Quintiles uses to describe the fast-morphing world of biopharma.

Between Feb. 2 and March 22 of this year, the Richard Day Research of Evanston, Ill., conducted a survey on behalf of Quintiles. Respondents included 144 biopharmaceutical executives at the director level or above at large (annual revenues of more than $3 billion) and emerging (annual revenues of less than $100 million) companies, 129 managed care executives at the director level or above, and 1,048 U.S. adults over the age of 18.

The survey takes a look from an industry view and from a patient view.

Patient Perspective

According to the survey, 32 percent of biopharmaceutical executives think patients will be “very or extremely influential” in the success or failure of new drug therapies over the next five years. In contrast, only 11 percent of patients feel they will influence which new prescription drugs are available during the same time period.

“The era of biopharma companies targeting physicians as the primary consumer is shifting as patients play an increasingly important role in drug development,” said Dipti Amin, M.D., chief compliance officer at Quintiles. “Although patients may not yet fully understand their level of influence, many biopharma executives are taking notice. They are addressing the quality, accessibility and cost concerns of the population through the delivery of drugs that safely and reliably address critical healthcare issues.”

The survey also reveals that the perception of how patients demonstrate influence varies considerably between biopharma executives and patients themselves. Only 6 percent of biopharma executives feel patients show their influence most by choosing lifestyle or holistic approaches, despite 45 percent of patients who report they have made lifestyle changes within the past five years to avoid taking prescription drugs.

“This misalignment speaks volumes about biopharma’s challenge to better understand patients, and their perception of the value of prescription drugs in order to address the needs of this increasingly influential stakeholder group,” added Amin.

Additional patient findings include:

  • Almost half (46 percent) of biopharma executives believe a worsening of public health is likely if generic drugs continue to gain market share.
  • Almost all biopharma executives and 75 percent of patients feel patent protection is important in promoting the development of new drug therapies. However, nearly one third of patients believe drug companies should never be the only company that can make and sell a drug.
  • Biopharma executives, managed care executives, and patients all agree that oncology should be the therapeutic area of greatest focus in the next five years.
  • Thirty-five percent of patients feel breast cancer should be the priority focus, followed by lung cancer (16 percent) and leukemia (13 percent).

Industry Perspective

Jay Norman, president of the Consulting Group at Quintiles said the results in The New Health Report reveal the challenges that the biopharma industry faces to close the gaps that exist between them and the new constellation of stakeholders.

“The results also point to the significant opportunity for biopharma to take charge of its future through better alignment with payers, improved understanding of patients, and the use of data and improved information exchange among all stakeholders to manage complexity and accelerate drug development,” added Norman.

Key findings among biopharma executives include:

  • Seventy-two percent see mergers and acquisitions as a likely future development of the industry, but only 15 percent feel large mergers will provide more opportunities for innovation. In contrast, 39 percent of managed care executives believe large mergers will lead to more innovation opportunities.
  • Eighty-eight percent believe it is important to partner with rival biopharma companies to strengthen the pipeline of new therapies, yet less than half would be willing to share information about failed compounds. In contrast, 91 percent of managed care executives said biopharma should share information about failed compounds with competitors in order to bring therapies to market faster.
  • Seventy-three percent report they are currently working with partners to share financial risk and best practices. Seventy-nine percent of managed care executives agree with this approach adding that biopharma also should use data and decision models in new ways.

“A reality of the New Health is that payers and patients are looking to biopharma to drive innovation and to transform the drug development model,” added Norman. . “One of the first steps is for biopharma to work to close the gap in the perception of value. Biopharma also must explore alternative alliances that leverage the capabilities of each partner to increase value and decrease risk.”

Additional Findings

The New Health Report highlights four other elements:

  • Nearly four in five biopharma executives believe a more complex regulatory environment will have a negative impact on their ability to get new products to market quickly. However, 59 percent of managed care executives feel this dynamic will have a positive effect on the quality of products available.
  • Biopharma executives (41 percent), managed care executives (35 percent) and patients (45 percent) all agree that oncology should be the therapeutic area of greatest focus in the next five years. Among biopharma executives, central nervous system (CNS) diseases ranked second at 14 percent.
  • Generics are an issue of great concern among biopharma companies. For biopharma executives, 78 percent feel that a decline in investment in new therapies is likely if generics continue to gain market share, and almost half believe the worsening of public health is a likely outcome. Among managed care executives, 56 percent also believe a decline in new therapy investment is a likely outcome of increased generics use.
  • A majority (85 percent) of biopharma executives believe that China will significantly increase its capacity to produce generics in the next three to five years. However, only 38 percent of biopharma think China will emerge as a center of drug innovation in that same time period.


Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.