Each year there is considerable excitement, behind the scenes deal-making, networking, and of course, 4 days of never ending executive presentations at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. This year will be no different. Over 400 company presentations (the overwhelming majority from Biotech and Pharma company executives) proudly highlighting accomplishments of the past and pipeline promises for the future, all with the caveat of “forward looking statements.” Virtually every company in drug development that comes to JPMorgan each year declares they have strategically honed their pipelines filled with promising new agents for diseases with significant unmet medical needs.
Granted, not all the JP Morgan presenting companies are working on drug development. Some are medical device companies, healthcare systems, pharmacy chains, distributors, or contract support companies to the biotech and Pharma industry. Without going through and deciphering which of the more than 400 companies are actually working on drug development, it’s at least 200 and probably closer to 300 of the presenting companies. So what’s my point?
Unfortunately, all the JP Morgan presenting drug companies collectively delivered less than 35 FDA drug approvals in 2012. In fact, 12 of the approvals came from companies and organizations not even presenting at JP Morgan this year.
35 approvals is not a very impressive number, especially when you consider the tens of billions of dollars spent each year on drug research, the hundreds of thousands of scientists and clinicians engaged in drug development, and the number of companies professing to have promising new drugs in development.