AstraZeneca Named The Most Innovative Global Pharma Company


Biopharmaceutical companies invest millions of dollars in their clinical pipeline, chasing that one elusive cure that can fetch them manifold returns when the program comes to fruition. Often times, unfazed by setbacks, these companies pursue promising opportunities identified by their R&D team just so that they can wipe years of accumulated losses and turn profits for all stakeholders concerned.

R&D expenses as a percent of total spending vary between 18% and 31% for big pharma companies, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Apart from R&D spend, there are other metrics that can help gauge how innovative a biopharma company is.

U.K. pharma giant AstraZeneca plc AZN topped the list of the most innovative pharma company, according to IDEA Pharma that released rankings based on the Pharmaceutical Invention Index, which has been compiled for the first time in 2019 and presented at the Pharma Innovation Summit in Boca Raton, Florida.

The index, according to IDEA Pharma, takes into account the following criteria:

  • The proportion of pipeline to marketed drugs;
  • The number of trials investigating novel agents;
  • The proportion of 'novel' regulatory designations; and
  • Assessment of the companies' R&D investments.

Top 10

  1. AstraZeneca
  2. Celgene Corporation CELG
  3. Eli Lilly And Co LLY
  4. Novartis AG NVS
  5. AbbVie Inc ABBV & Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated VRTX
  6. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co BMY
  7. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc REGN
  9. GlaxoSmithKline plc GSK
  10. Biogen Inc BIIB

Surprisingly, Pfizer Inc.PFE and Roche Holdings AG Basel ADR RHHBY don't make it to the top 10.

AstraZeneca's Outperformance

AstraZeneca said in its third-quarter release it has about 144 projects in clinical pipeline, with 16 new molecular entities and major lifecycle medicines in Phase 3 trials or under regulatory review. Most recently, the company achieved a breakthrough in lung cancer research, with its triple combo regimen acing a late-stage trial.

The recent quarterly results showed that the company expended about 24% of its total spending on R&D.

"There's a critical distinction between invention and innovation – success is achieved by discovering and developing meaningfully great medicines (invention) and getting those medicines to market, and to patients (innovation). It is wonderful to see a company of AstraZeneca's scale and history able to turn around its fortunes in a relatively short period of time," IDEA Pharma CEO Mike Rea said.

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