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Pharmaceutical Companies Must Re-think Innovation Strategies to Address Pipeline Challenges, Accenture and CMR Research Finds

Accenture and CMR International
Posted on: 21 Jan 05



Jim Rivas


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Jasween Gill

CMR International

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Pharmaceutical Companies Must Re-think Innovation Strategies to Address Pipeline Challenges, Accenture and CMR Research Finds


Organizational Innovation Can Play a Central Role in Addressing Productivity Challenges


LONDONJanuary 19, 2005New research by Accenture and CMR International challenges the view that increased investment in early stage innovation alone will solve the productivity gap.  Pharmaceutical companies may need to re-balance investments aimed at developing first-in-class drugs with research projects focused on known targets.  Additionally, companies will need to introduce innovations more broadly across the organization and value chain if they are to effectively address research and development (R&D) pipeline constraints.


The research compared the time investment and success rates to develop first-in-class drugs with those involved in producing drugs based on established targets.  The findings revealed that companies focusing the majority of their discovery investments on first-in-class products risk impeding the speed and success of bringing a broad range of new therapeutics to market.


In addition, researchers noted that the challenges presented by constrained R&D pipelines will require companies to assess how well they currently use innovation to add value to products through every stage of discovery, development and commercialization.  In doing so, they may identify considerable opportunities to improve productivity and drive product commercial potential. 


“While research aimed at developing first-in-class therapeutics will always play a central role in a pharmaceutical organization’s ability to bring better medicines to market, companies do need to rethink their innovation strategies,” said Ann Baker, a partner in Accenture’s Health & Life Sciences practice.  “High-performance pharmaceutical companies will seek to apply innovative approaches throughout their organizations, from the earliest stages of discovery all the way to the patient.  This may be the true key to higher levels of productivity.”


The research found that:

  • Projects based on new targets typically take 16 months longer to deliver a drug candidate into preclinical development than projects focused on established targets.
  • Only 3 percent of projects based on new targets are likely to enter preclinical development, compared with 17 percent of projects based on established targets.
  • In early-stage discovery, established-target projects have a success rate of 76 percent, compared with 57 percent for new-target projects.


Using this data, Accenture and CMR International modeled a discovery portfolio of approximately 200 projects with an overall development success rate of 10 percent, an assumption that mirrors the pharmaceutical industry’s current success rates based on CMR International data.  According to this model, a company focusing exclusively on new targets would need to initiate almost four times as many new discovery projects per year as a company working only on established targets (i.e., 90 new projects versus 25). 



To assess the risks and rewards of scientific innovation in pharmaceutical research and development, Accenture and CMR International analysed data collected for CMR International’s 2003 Drug Discovery Performance Metrics Programme.  This data covers drug discovery success rates and phase durations at 15 pharmaceutical companies between 2000 and 2002.


About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 100,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$13.67 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2004. Its home page is


About CMR International

The Centre for Medicines Research International is recognised as the world’s leading provider of R&D performance indicators and trend analyses to the global pharmaceutical industry.  CMR International is distinguished by its ability to gather and analyse industry-wide proprietary R&D performance metrics, and so enable it to provide its partners with a unique, evidence-based perspective on their R&D performance and productivity.  CMR International is based in the UK.  Its portfolio of R&D performance metrics programmes researches all R&D disciplines, including Discovery, Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls (CMC), Clinical Development and Regulatory.


To find out more about The Centre for Medicines Research, please visit or contact




Editor's Details

Sam Barnes
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Last updated on: 27/08/2010

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