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Industry Leaders Share Insights on Drug Development Challenges and Trends
in New Survey

Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical and biotech leaders face acute challenges related to patient recruitment, talent shortages and the increasing complexity of clinical trials. At the same time, exciting advances in technology, patient centricity and decentralized trials provide a bright outlook for drug development, according to a new survey and report commissioned by the PPD clinical research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science.

The report, R&D Trends in Pharma and Biotech, reflects today’s challenges and opportunities in bringing new therapies to market, as disclosed by more than 150 decision-making leaders at pharmaceutical and biotech companies around the world. Conducted by pharmaceutical market research firm Industry Standard Research (ISR), the survey asked respondents to consider the therapies in their pipelines, barriers to drug development, latest innovations in use and the lingering effects and lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The insights from our new report reveal the tremendous opportunity the industry has to tackle the toughest challenges in drug development,” said Rodrigo Garcia, M.D., vice president, sites and patients center of excellence, clinical research, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Understanding the current and future needs of our pharmaceutical and biotech customers drives our ability to provide the deep expertise and innovative solutions that they expect from a dedicated partner in drug development.”

More than half of survey respondents (55%) said their organizations face challenges with patient recruitment in clinical trials, including patient retention and population diversity. As more targeted therapies are developed, increasing complexity of clinical trials (51%) and regulatory hurdles (46%) also emerged as common barriers.

Nearly half (48%) of drug developers report that the average timeline to develop a drug – from first-in-human trials through market approvals – is longer now than it was two years ago.

More than one-third of respondents (39%) consider improved patient recruitment through digital and decentralized trials as an opportunity. Business conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic spurred 51% of respondents to take steps to decentralize trials or work with partners who can provide this service. The report also found greater use of real-world data and evidence to evaluate a product’s safety, effectiveness and value, closely followed by the leveraging of new technologies, as top opportunity areas in pharmaceutical research.

Nearly three out of five respondents reported that hematology/oncology is a therapeutic area leading their company’s drug development pipeline. Rare diseases, immunology and rheumatology, neuroscience, and cardiovascular therapeutic areas rounded out the top five.

To download the full report, please visit: R&D Trends in Pharma and Biotech