- UK life sciences minister, George Freeman, is recommending using hospitals as part of the clinical development of new drugs, because he says that the old blockbuster system is no longer viable.
- He made his comments last week at the Financial Times Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference.
- Other announcements made at the conference by representatives from UK government include news that Merck is investing $66 million to create a licensing hub in London, and Becton. Dickson and Company is spending $33 million to build a next-generation blood separation tube production line in Plymouth.
The technical definition of a blockbuster drug is a drug that generates at least $1 billion in revenues per year. But that term also implies a model in which a company aggressively invests in a drug, which is used by a significant population or in a therapeutic area that requires large expenditures. That model is waning as the twin forces of more budget-minded healthcare spending and the advent of personalized medicine shift the development landscape forever.
For this reason, Minister Freeman has suggested that the context in which drugs are developed should be changed to reflect this new reality. His suggestion of getting 'earlier proof-of-concept with patients' was received with equanimity by various groups, including the Association of Clinical Research Organisations.