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Pharma spent $49.5bn on US R&D in 2011

Flat growth in research investment compared to previous year according to PhRMA

Members of the US trade body Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) invested $49.5bn in R&D during 2011, a slight increase from 2010's figure of $49.4bn.

This flat growth contrasted with a 6.5 per cent (or $1.5bn) rise in R&D spending from 2009 to 2010, reflecting a slow-down in research investment in the US.

However, PhRMA was still positive about 2011's 'strong' figure, saying that, the US biopharmaceutical sector accounts for the single largest share of all US business R&D, representing nearly 20 percent of all domestic R&D funded by US businesses.

“Despite facing market, scientific and regulatory challenges, the US biopharmaceutical sector – led by our member companies – has remained a major contributor to American innovation,” said John Castellani, PhRMA president and CEO.

“Our member companies' investment represents a boost to America's economy, with 78 per cent of those dollars invested on our shores. But more importantly, it shows a continued commitment to medical progress that will continue to bring new solutions to America's patients.”

PhRMA also released an updated version of its chart pack resource, which claims more than 3,000 medicines were in development by its members in 2011, including 932 for cancer, 383 for respiratory diseases and 98 for Alzheimer's and other dementias.

Last year also saw 35 new molecular entities received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, including two personalised medicines for cancer, 11 new medicines for patients with rare diseases, and GSK's lupus drug Benlysta.

Two medicines that are the first in a new class to treat hepatitis C, Incivek from Vertex and Merck's Victrelis, were also approved.

'These remarkable breakthroughs are a testament to our greater understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of disease' said PhRMA.

In addition to releasing R&D funding figures for 2011, PhRMA also commented on two reports on the role of partnerships in research.

Discussing the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development study into collaborations between biopharma and academic medical centres, CEO Castellani said such efforts are “an increasingly common, 'naturally complementary' approach to harness the full potential of new scientific discoveries”.

The 'Research in Your Backyard report, which looks at the role Massachusetts residents play in research by participating in clinical trials, was also praised by Castellani who commented that  nearly 4,000 clinical trials of new medicines have been conducted in collaboration with the state's clinical research centres, university medical schools and hospitals.

“It takes many different partners to make medical progress a reality. As the two reports released today show, we can make a difference in America's future, and the future of America's health, by working together in a collaborative, flexible, constructive way,” he said.

13th April 2012

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