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A New Citeline Analysis Provides Valuable Clues to Health of Drug Companies

Report in Good Clinical Practice Journal (GCPj) Finds That Novartis Leads the Pack for Ongoing Trials in Autoimmune, Cardiovascular, and Metabolic Diseases

NEW YORK, June 30, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- In a new Expert Analysis article published in the July issue of GCPj, Tracy DeGregorio and Christine Blazynski examine the robustness of the leading pharma and biotech pipelines with respect to ongoing clinical trials activity, and find that trial density is a particularly good indicator of the depth of companies' pipelines and focus of development efforts.

Report co-author Tracy DeGregorio says: "The focus of our analysis was specifically ongoing, industry-sponsored clinical trials for 20 leading pharma and biotech companies across six major therapeutic areas. We looked at the numbers of total ongoing trials by company, by therapeutic area and by development phase, with some interesting findings. Sanofi-aventis, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, for example, all have more ongoing clinical trials than Pfizer, despite spending over US$1 billion less per year in R&D. Genentech also seems to be a success, with its number of ongoing trials rivaling that of companies twice its size in both revenue and R&D spending."

In a detailed ranking of companies by ongoing trial activity across six therapeutic areas (autoimmune/inflammation, cardiovascular, CNS, metabolic, infectious diseases, and oncology), this analysis finds that those companies spending in excess of US$4 billion in R&D hold most of the top three positions across the six therapeutic areas with the exceptions of Genentech (second in ongoing oncology trials), and Takeda (third in ongoing metabolic trials). Novartis' trial density is particularly strong, securing the top rank in autoimmune, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases.

"Ongoing trial activity is also particularly useful in examining the distribution of early-stage vs late-stage pipeline health," says co-author Dr. Blazynski. "Looking at early-stage activity, for example, for several companies, fewer than 20% of their total ongoing trials are in either Phase I or I/II, including Takeda, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Abbott and Sanofi-aventis. The companies with robust early-stage programmes, those with greater than 35% of total trials in Phase I or Phase I/II, include Merck Serono, Wyeth, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Schering-Plough."

Density of trial activity around a particular candidate also unmasks companies' strategies to either disrupt an established market to steal market share, or enter smaller markets with large unmet need. As an example, this report looked at the distribution of industry-sponsored trials by tumor type for the three approved EGFR inhibitors: Erbitux, Iressa and Tarceva.

"Trial density provides an extremely valuable metric for both broad assessments, such as a company's strength in a therapeutic area, as well as for granular analyses, like examining specific development strategies by drug, disease, target patient population, or mechanism of action," concludes DeGregorio. "It should always be taken into consideration."

Notes to Editors

The report, "Assessments, Considerations and a Revelation or Two," is part of a new monthly series of Expert Analysis reports to be published in GCPj. These reports are based on the TrialTrove data set, the most comprehensive source for clinical trials intelligence, which now comprises over 70,000 clinical trial records spanning 100+ diseases. This article is available by contacting Citeline, Inc.

Members of the media may request an interview with the authors.

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Posted: June 2008

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