The Role of Funding and Policies on Innovation in Cancer Drug Development

3 Feb 2010
P Kanavos, R Sullivan, G Lewison, W Schurer, S Eckhouse, Z Vlachopioti

During the past two decades, cancer incidence has steadily increased due to aging populations, lifestyle and environmental factors, with great personal and national economic consequences. Concurrently, cancer treatments have improved with increased treatment options as well as lengthier disease and disease-free survival rates. The latest innovation in cancer treatments are targeted biological treatments, joining the current arsenal of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, particularly significant in latter stage cancers associated with very poor survival.

Despite this latest breakthrough in cancer treatment, this has in fact only opened the door to beginning to understand the complexity of cancer on a molecular and genetic basis. Oncology research and development (R&D) has the highest failure rate for new molecular entities (NME) and significantly higher development costs. Although tremendous scientific and economic barriers exist, the oncology development market has increased twofold over the past 5 years.

This report aims to map current oncology R&D funding and management, primarily in Europe and the USA, to examine public-private relationships, current oncology R&D strategies and oncology innovation policies. Its objectives are:

• to map current funding and management of oncology R&D via questionnaire surveys and interviews of oncology experts;
• to produce a high-resolution bibliometric analysis of oncology drug R&D in order to better understand the public-private mix in research activity;
• to investigate the cumulative life-time funding of specific oncology drugs;
• to review current public policy affecting oncology drug R&D, specifically, public R&D investment policies, transnational investment policies, regulatory policies and drug reimbursement policies; and
• to propose future oncology policies supporting the R&D process.

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