Pharma leaders at Biovision discuss high costs of innovation
- Pharmaceutical executives and thought leaders convened in Lyons, France for the Biovision meeting. One hot topic was the cost of innovation.
- Sanofi CEO Chris Veihbacher cited higher development costs and tougher regulatory pathways as contributing factors to a high level of risk for pharma companies involved in R&D.
- He noted that of 400 new drugs approved in the last decade only 20% have made their money back.
Innovation costs money and pharmaceutical companies are shouldering the risk and taking blame for the costs. That’s the takeaway message from a discussion at Biovision in which both Viehbacher and Paul Steffels, CFO, Johnson & Johnson, vehemently defended the need for less risks, more rewards and expedited approval timelines.
Veihbacher defended the cost of Sovaldi noting that a cure for hepatitis C offsets the need for liver transplant and other long-term interventions. He also argued in favor of a longer patent life for NCEs, especially given development timelines that are often as long as 20 years.
Stoffels discussed the necessity of collaboration between biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He also noted that developing one new drug involves 30 different technologies—a very expensive process.