It’s all Science

Bio/pharmaceutical R&D is all science – whether it’s the discovery of a new protein implicated in viral replication, or it’s the discovery of a side effect in patients implicating a new potential indication.  But different kinds of science are involved in each of these discoveries.  The nature of work relating a particular kind of science to bio/pharmaceutical R&D is highly varied.  It may require the hands and observational insight of a highly trained Ph.D. or M.D., or a robot that performs repetitive tasks in a highly precise manner.  Neither work is less valuable.

To investors it’s all science prior to Phase III.  To them there is little to quantify or predict prior to Phase III. There’s so much research in Development we tend to divide R&D into Discovery and Development – D&D.

Those engaged in the business of Bio/pharmaceutical R&D strive to maintain a portfolio of research and development projects. 1 that will provide unique therapies to patients and enhance the corporation’s profits, in a business where the average start to product lifecycle is well over ten years, probability of success is <2%, and the average cost is 1.7 billion. 2

  1. Project is the generic term here used to describe the matrix group that focuses on a common goal.  As will be described in a later post, program may be used for projects in Discovery, but the distinctions are sufficiently few that we find it easier to use a single term for all matrix efforts in bio/pharmaceutical R&D.
  2. Jim Gilbert, Preston Henske, and Ashish Singh, “Rebuilding Big Pharma’s Business Model,” Bain & Company 01 Nov. 2003, 29 Oct. 2007, quoted in ”The Continuing Evolution of the Pharmaceutical Industry: Career Challenges and Opportunities”, Michael Steiner et al., December 2007.