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BIO Releases First Report in a Series on the State of Innovation in Highly Prevalent Chronic Diseases

January 18, 2018

Washington, DC (January 18, 2018) – Today, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released a new report, The State of Innovation in Highly Prevalent Chronic Diseases: Depression Therapeutics, the first in a series on the current funding and R&D land scape for drugs to treat highly prevalent, chronic diseases.

Previously published data from BIO showed that venture investment for drug development in areas such as psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular, diabetes, and respiratory diseases has been declining and low over the last decade relative to the prevalence and health care cost of these diseases. This new series aims to understand the breadth and depth of innovation in the current clinical pipeline and the likelihood of meeting unmet needs in these indications.

This first report takes an in-depth look at the state of innovation in depression therapeutics. As one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders, depression impacts 16 million patients in the United States and is estimated to cost our health care system $105 billion annually.

Key Takeaways

  • There is a significant unmet need for new therapies for the treatment of depression. Only 29 active substances have been approved for major depression since 1959, and work on a single hypothesis;
  • Promising new therapeutic approaches, based on unique molecular targets discovered in the 1990s and early 2000s, have experienced a significant number of setbacks. Currently, there are now only 33 drug programs in clinical trials utilizing new approaches for major depression;
  • Clinical trial initiations for new therapeutics are down 50 percent over the last decade, and drug candidates for new clinical studies are nearly non-existent; and
  • Venture investment in companies focused on depression is at record low levels.

“As this first-of-its-kind report shows, depression continues to be an area of high unmet medical need,” said report author David Thomas, Senior Director, Industry Research & Policy Analysis for BIO. “Despite its widespread prevalence and costly economic impact, investment in new therapies for depression is lagging behind other disease areas such as oncology. Unique scientific, regulatory, and reimbursement challenges all pose hurdles to the development of new depression treatments. Addressing these challenges will be critical in meeting the needs of people suffering from depression.”

The report – The State of Innovation in Highly Prevalent Chronic Diseases – is available for download here. For more information on BIO Industry Analysis, please visit: BIO Industry Analysis Published Reports.

About BIO

BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.

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