Who is in the driver’s seat of our industry?

A recent analysis from Pharma Intelligence | Informa 2021 highlights the current trends of pipeline products (top panel). We have subsequently surveyed Sunstone’s incoming deal flow for the same period and noted the correlation for the top 3 categories with oncology as a clear lead.

A 2019 report from World Health Organization categorizes the world’s leading causes of death, with ischaemic heart disease coming first and lung cancer as 6th on the list. Additionally, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked the healthcare costs for society, with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease on the top (327B and 259B USD respectively) and with cancer being 4th with 174B USD. In either case, oncology is not on top of the list!

Could it be argued that patients’ needs and public healthcare costs are not steering our industry? 

It is well established that most new drugs originate from small biotech companies. STAT reported that only 23% and 11%, respectively, of Pfizer’s and J&J’s 2019 top selling drugs originated from their own R&D. It would therefore be plausible to assume that the companies financed by VCs are of importance to where biotech is headed!

If so, are VC’s responding to a demand from the industry or to an oversupply of excellent science in oncology?

Data from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) suggests that oncology research funding is at the top of the list and thereby supports that VC’s could be responding to excellent science. Are we simply getting more products in a field that we are spending more taxpayers’ money to research!? 

Maybe! But as is also evident from the Australian data, neurology research funding surpasses cancer research funding.

Alternatively, could it be that translation of cancer research to final product is easier relative to other diseases? Not at all! Studies show that clinical success rates are among the lowest in cancer.

Some characteristics of cancer R&D are clinical trials of manageable sizes with tangible and relatable endpoints. Those characteristics translate to opportunities with a good match to Venture Capital.

Are VC’s in the driver’s seat of the industry? Are we creating an overemphasis on oncology?

If so, what could be done about it? Should payers significantly subsidize early clinical trials to support other important disease areas?

What do you think?

#Sunstonelifescience #lifescience #venturecapital

*Note: “Biotechnology” is a category used by Pharma Intelligence | Informa to highlight biotechnology derived drugs, i.e., the category overlaps the therapeutic areas, but it is not a therapeutic area as in itself, therefore we did not include it in our analysis.

What do you think?
Let us know in our feed on LinkedIn:

5 latest press releases

Galecto Completes Enrollment in Phase 1b_2a GULLIVER-2 Trial of its Selective, Oral Galectin-3 Inhibitor GB1211 in Liver Cirrhosis

BOSTON, March 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galecto, Inc. (NASDAQ: GLTO), a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel treatments for fibrosis and cancer, today announced it has completed enrollment in Parts 2 and 3 of its ongoing 3-part...

Sunstone Life Science Ventures is looking for a Student Assistant

No longer accepting applications We are looking for a student to join our team for approximately 8 hours a week. As part of the team, you will play a pivotal role in the management of our deal flow, which lies in the order of 400-500 opportunities every year....

Sunstone announce new investment in immuno-oncology company STipe Therapeutics

Sunstone Life Science Ventures today announce it has invested in new portfolio company Stipe Therapeutics ApS (“STipe”), an immuno-oncology company dedicated to developing novel cancer therapeutics based on its first class drugs modulating the STING pathway.

Zealand Pharma achieves primary and all key secondary endpoints in pediatric Phase 3 trial with dasiglucagon for severe hypoglycemia

Zealand Pharma A/S (“Zealand”) (Nasdaq: ZEAL), a Copenhagen-based biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of innovative peptide-based medicines, announces positive results in the pediatric Phase 3 trial with dasiglucagon for severe hypoglycemia...

5 latest articles

Biotech startups in Scandinavia have 460 MEUR at hand – but burn is up – and runway the shortest in 3 years

As the market continues to fluctuate and geopolitical issues continue to impact the economy, it's important to take a closer look at the state of pre-commercial life science companies. At Sunstone, we assisted companies in our portfolio with listings and refinancing,...

Unmet medical needs in cardiovascular sub-populations – an opportunity for VCs?

Unmet medical needs in cardiovascular sub-populations – an opportunity for VCs?  For the past 5 months we have had the pleasure of having Philip Brainin as intern at Sunstone Life Science Ventures. Apart from bringing valuable insights to our daily activities, he has...

Why do VC’s not cut losses in time?

Why do VC’s not cut losses in time?  A clinical trial is a very expensive experiment for testing a hypothesis, while hoping for a positive outcome. However, if well designed, a negative outcome could increase the potential for a positive outcome in a subsequent trial....

Are some diseases associated with a higher risk of venture capital losses?

Are some diseases associated with a higher risk of venture capital losses?  Before summer we posted a study correlating venture capital losses in drug development with the magnitude of funding of clinical trials. We have used two approaches to find losses: 1)...

Do compromises in clinical trials cause Venture Capital losses?

Do compromises in clinical trials cause Venture Capital losses? In 2020 and 2021 Sunstone looked in depth at drug development venture-backed successes to find usable attributes and learn from the past. We have now turned the analysis up-side down and looked at the...

Who is in the driver’s seat of our industry?

A recent analysis from Pharma Intelligence | Informa 2021 highlights the current trends of pipeline products (top panel). We have subsequently surveyed Sunstone’s incoming deal flow for the same period and noted the correlation for the top 3 categories with oncology...