How to Survive the Valley of Death as a Biotech Startup?

29/06/2016 - 5 minutes

Over the past decade there has been an unprecedented restructuring of R&D in pharma whereas building a successful biotech company is still as challenging. How can these two elements help each other?


This is a contributing post from Peter Machin, former SVP Drug Discovery at GSK.


Big Pharma has significantly contracted its in-house efforts in drug discovery. For example, pre-2006 Big Pharma in the UK employed over 1000 medicinal chemists engaged in new drug discovery. Now, the number is less than 200 and similar contractions have been seen in the rest of Europe and in the USA.

Of course, if you need to reduce both costs and risks then targeting the discovery phase is the best option in the short term. There has been no obvious decrease in overall attrition so without some compensatory action, development pipelines will run dry!

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That cannot happen, and so the sector has seen a massive increase in the number of smaller organisations engaged in drug discovery.

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