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Pipeline Progress: Predicting Drug Approvals at Every Phase



By Deborah Borfitz 
 
June 21, 2013 | Infinata’s BioPharm Insight discovered a “revolutionary” new use for its massive drugs and clinical trials database after its consultants last summer probed the data for a contract research organization (CRO) wanting to better gauge resource needs around the future portfolio makeup of a key account, says Infinata Marketing Director Kris Sarajian.
 
Company analysts quickly realized all that historical information could be more broadly analyzed to come up with the statistical probability of phase advancement, and ultimately approval, of an individual drug. As such, it could guide biopharmaceutical development and investment by financial markets—as well as help service companies anticipating market shifts, says Amanda Murphy, head of product development for BioPharm.
 
The new tool, aptly named Pipeline Progress, makes its debut at DIA 2013 in Boston on Monday before formally joining the BioPharm Insight suite sometime next month.
 
Pipeline Progress generates probability scores based on the statistical likelihood that a drug will advance to a certain phase, receive regulatory approval, and, if so, in what year, says Murphy. Its proprietary algorithm considers variables such as therapeutic area, indication, and current phase. “We offer no opinions; probabilities are based purely on the numbers.” The triggers include drug traits, such as new molecular entity versus generic, and outside events such as a failed trial or being a Food and Drug Administration-designated Fast Track Drug.
 
Sponsors will be able to use Pipeline Progress scores to identify the best drug candidates to pursue for in-licensing, and filter out compounds least likely to make it to market, says Murphy. They’ll also be able to use Pipeline Progress to gain competitive insights by disease area. A company may compare its drug approval and phase advancement rates against those of its rivals and decide to change its portfolio strategy—or tease out the rationale for a higher ranking and stay the course. Real-time updates are available when scores change.
 
Service companies will be able to plan for big accounts with projections on pipelines five years out, says Sarajian, and “see where their next deal might come from—that their competitors might not know about—[and appropriately staff up].” Investors could similarly use Pipeline Progress, coupled with BioPharm Insights’ ongoing journalistic intelligence, to get a good sense of where to place their bets. On the sell side, Pipeline Progress scores enable analysts to better value companies using a probability-adjusted revenue stream. 
 
BioPharm Insight intends to pick a few key users to beta test Pipeline Progress in the coming weeks as well as continue efforts to quantify the accuracy of its predictions against actual results. 
 
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