As the global COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, the life sciences innovation system is setting new records in the level of investment, activity, and scientific progress, in addition to the number and range of new medicines reaching patients around the world. Beyond the ground-breaking contributions to COVID-19 in the form of vaccines and therapeutics, this sector has also succeeded in adapting and re-focusing to a remarkable extent, overcoming the many operational and organizational challenges facing those who are leading biopharmaceutical innovation.
This report – Global Trends in R&D: Overview through 2021 – assesses the trends in new drug approvals and launches, overall pipeline activity in terms of actively researched medicines, and the number of initiated clinical trials. It also profiles the state of R&D funding and the activity of companies of different types, and the results of research are compared to the input effort in a Clinical Development Productivity Index. The notable acceleration and adaptability of the innovation ecosystem is examined in terms of several accelerators of the innovation cycle, including dramatic reductions in so-called white space within clinical development timelines that have been achieved for COVID-19 vaccines and other medicines and suggests the kinds of optimization to expect in the future.