The Financial Times, in association with Deloitte, will host the Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference 2011 in London next week. As DTTL’s Global Managing Director for the Life Sciences and Health Care industry, I am extremely interested in engaging life sciences and health care executives while I’m there to gain a better understanding of their most pressing issues.
A topic that fascinates me is the so called pharmaceuticals innovation crisis. I am sure during the course of this conference someone will show the ubiquitous chart comparing rising cost to develop a new drug compared to declining new molecular entity (NME) productivity. First, I’ve seen this chart about 500 times; it’s old news. Second, I argue that it is merely an example of measuring the wrong thing. In fact, I think it is hard to argue that the last decade has not been one of the most innovative in human history. Think about the cracking of the human genome, our growing understanding of genetic predisposition, and our increasing knowledge on the complexity of protein interactions in the human body, not to mention advances in scientific disciplines like nanotechnology and robotics that will certainly have a positive impact on overall human health. So, I’m going to start calling this chart the “lack of imagination chart” rather than the “innovation crisis” chart.