Decision Resources, a research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, reports that biopharma companies industry-wide are increasingly moving away from in-house research and toward acquisitive strategies to build their portfolios and grow sales. According to findings from the Strategic Insights report, the fraction of new product launches that originate from in-licensing has increased dramatically over the last decade. In 2012, 53% of new product launches were in-licensed during development, as compared to an average of 32% between 2003 and 2012.
The report also finds that while 72% of marketed products and pipeline compounds for large pharma companies are sourced in-house or through corporate acquisitions, the corresponding fraction for regional and mid-size companies is only 52%, likely reflecting the latter's reliance on in-licensing of brands for distribution in regional markets. Although company R&D budgets on average have remained constant as a percentage of pharmaceutical sales since 2008, the increasing cost of new product development makes it unlikely that in-house R&D programs can maintain constant levels of productivity.
"As biopharma companies look toward outside partnerships to supplement their pipelines, we see deal-making concentrated in therapeutic areas that are a combination of high sales and high growth, such as oncology," said Patrick Flight, Ph.D., Decision Resources analyst. "Whether the current trend of external sourcing of innovation will remain a viable strategy in an increasingly competitive market for in-licensing and product acquisition opportunities remains to be seen."