Economics of new oncology drug development.

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PURPOSE: Review existing studies and provide new results on the development, regulatory, and market aspects of new oncology drug development. METHODS: We utilized data from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), company surveys, and publicly available commercial business intelligence databases on new oncology drugs approved in the United States and on investigational oncology drugs to estimate average development and regulatory approval times, clinical approval success rates, first-in-class status, and global market diffusion. RESULTS: We found that approved new oncology drugs to have a disproportionately high share of FDA priority review ratings, of orphan drug designations at approval, and of drugs that were granted inclusion in at least one of the FDA's expedited access programs. US regulatory approval times were shorter, on average, for oncology drugs (0.5 years), but US clinical development times were longer on average (1.5 years). Clinical approval success rates were similar for oncology and other drugs, but proportionately more of the oncology failures reached expensive late-stage clinical testing before being abandoned. In relation to other drugs, new oncology drug approvals were more often first-in-class and diffused more widely across important international markets. CONCLUSION: The market success of oncology drugs has induced a substantial amount of investment in oncology drug development in the last decade or so. However, given the great need for further progress, the extent to which efforts to develop new oncology drugs will grow depends on future public-sector investment in basic research, developments in translational medicine, and regulatory reforms that advance drug-development science.





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DiMasi, Joseph A, and Henry G Grabowski (2007). Economics of new oncology drug development. J Clin Oncol, 25(2). pp. 209–216. 10.1200/JCO.2006.09.0803 Retrieved from

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Henry G. Grabowski

Professor Emeritus of Economics

Professor Grabowski specializes in the investigation of economics in the pharmaceutical industry, government regulation of business, and the economics of innovation. His specific interests within these fields include intellectual property and generic competition issues, the effects of government policy actions, and the costs and returns to pharmaceutical R&D. He has over one hundred peer reviewed articles analyzing the economics of pharmaceuticals and also several books and monograph publications. Professor Grabowski has testified several times before Congress on the issues of FDA regulation, health care reform, drug innovation and generic competition and vaccine policies. He has received numerous awards and professional recognition including a special issue of essays published in his honor in 2011 in the International Journal of the Economics of Business. He also has served as an advisor to various government and business organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the Office of Technology Assessment, the Federal Trade Commission, and the General Accounting Office. The US Congress has recognized the significant role that a paper he published with Duke colleagues David Ridley and Jeff Moe had in the passage of legislation that incentivized development of new therapies for neglected diseases through the creation of priority review vouchers.

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