Top life science innovators produce twice as many new products

Published: 14-Jul-2011

Company culture is the main barrier to improved innovation, EIU survey finds

Life science companies describing their innovation programmes as ‘very effective’ in a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey sponsored by Quintiles, typically produce almost twice as many new products or NMEs (new molecular entities) than other companies. In the last three years, they produced an average of 7.2 new products, compared with 3.8 for the other companies, the report reveals.

But the Reinventing biopharma: Strategies for an evolving marketplace report also indicated that many life science companies are ambivalent about the quality of their existing innovation programmes – less than half (47%) said their r&d model met their needs and although almost every company is trying to improve innovation, only 54% consider it a leading priority.

Culture is the primary barrier to improved innovation among the most laggard firms, the report finds. The most frequently cited barriers to innovation are costs (especially for smaller companies), r&d timescales and regulation. Among those companies with the worst innovation record, culture is the leading barrier to a better performance.

Leading life sciences innovators create the right culture, are more engaged in open innovation and make better use of data, the survey finds. They also act differently in several ways: they work hard to create the right environment, finding appropriate ways to reward efforts without penalising failure; they are more engaged in open innovation, with a more flexible perspective on intellectual property (IP); and they make greater use of data, both internally and externally, to support their efforts (67%).

A total of 282 senior executives from the life sciences industry participated in the April 2011 survey. Pharmaceutical companies (39%), biotech (21%), medical device manufacturers (22%) and service providers (14%), among others, responded. Geographically, 32% are based in the Asia-Pacific region, 31% in North America and 26% in Western Europe, with the balance from the rest of the world.

‘The survey’s findings highlight the urgent need for data-driven innovation as companies work to navigate the challenges of the New Health,’ said Paula Brown Stafford, president of Quintiles Clinical Development.

‘The best innovations will come from firms who look creatively at new technologies to turn their data and information into insight, pursue open partnerships to gain additional expertise, and make better decisions, faster.’

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