Novel New Drug Approvals in 2011: A Succinct Analysis of Drug Discovery Trends in the United States
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Thirty (30) new drugs have been approved by the FDA in 2011 for marketing in the United States. This list includes novel new drugs, known as new molecular entities (NMEs), biologics and new indications for drugs already approved. Eleven of the 30 NMEs were new drugs approved for orphan diseases, while twelve are considered first-in-class drugs with a unique new mechanism of action. During 2011, the FDA approved many unique and new drugs for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, deep vein thrombosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and epilepsy. In addition, several new biologicals were approved in the past year for the treatment of macular degeneration, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, chronic hepatitis C and SLE. The introduction of 30 NMEs in 2011 underscores a robust success rate. It confirms that innovation is once again beginning to pay off. Analysis of drug approvals reveals a unique new trend in drug discovery in the face of stiff competition from generic products and declining revenues. In the existing climate of reduced pipeline for NMEs, the future and survival of big companies rests heavily on their unique niche products and biologics with relatively less competition from generic manufacturers. However, the competition for biosimilars is growing by the hour and therefore, crafting innovative generic biologicals is vital for generic biotech companies. Although the number of NMEs approved in the past 10 years has been declining, there is a substantial increase in R&D expenditure for drug discovery. Overall, the new drug approval list unveils unique and emerging trends in drug discovery especially in the current generics era.
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