European Clinical Pipeline Activity
Until the recent downturn in external financing for early stage biopharma companies, the past couple of years had witnessed something of a renaissance in biopharma funding, led as usual, by the United States. The positive mood had spread beyond the US, and this was reflected in a significant increase in pipeline activity emanating from companies with European operations as shown below.
European Biopharma Leads by Phase 2014-2016
In 2015, the PharmSource Lead Sheet identified 480 drugs in European companies that were actively progressing through clinical trials, of which 242 (approximately 50%) were early stage (Discovery, Preclinical or Phase I). Approximately one in six of these reported positive results, and almost 20% of companies planned to initiate or expand clinical trials.
Looking at the numbers in a bit more detail, emerging biopharma companies, i.e. those dependent on external funding for their R&D operations, generated around two thirds of all leads in 2015. The remainder were accounted for by mid-size companies, generics players that also are developing their own pipelines, and global biopharma companies, such as GSK, Novartis, Roche and Sanofi.
From a country perspective, the major beneficiaries of the improving climate were the “Big 5” of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, which collectively accounted for almost 60% of all European opportunities in 2015. However, the Scandinavian countries and Switzerland also showed impressive pipeline development.
Despite the early-stage biopharma financing slowdown witnessed over the past year, PharmSource has tracked over 340 drugs in European companies that are actively progressing through clinical development (44% of which are early stage), suggesting that pipeline activity has yet to feel the impact of the decline in IPOs and Secondary Offerings. However, following the 2008 global financing crisis, there was a lag time of about two years before the full effects were felt, so Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs) and Contract Research Organizations (CROs) should be preparing now for more spare and competitive times ahead.
At PharmSource, we are increasing the breadth of coverage in the Lead Sheet, enabling service providers to continue to identify and prioritize those opportunities best suited to their capabilities across all development phases. It will become increasingly critical for CMOs, CDMOs and CROs to use the best possible resources to identify qualified new business opportunities.