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Top 30 pharmaceutical firms spent $112 billion on R&D in 2013

Advancing pipeline programs into later-stage clinical trials boosts spending, but many companies reduced their workforces to help stabilize profits in the aftermath of patent losses.

The world’s leading 30 pharmaceutical companies spent a combined $112 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2013, an increase of $723 million over the previous year, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.
The world’s leading 30 pharmaceutical companies spent a combined $112 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2013, an increase of $723 million over the previous year, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The world’s leading 30 pharmaceutical companies spent a combined $112 billion on research and development (R&D) in 2013, an increase of $723 million over the previous year, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s report, “PharmaLeaders: Global Pharmaceutical Market Benchmark Report—Retrospective and Forward-Looking Analysis of the Leading Pharmaceutical Companies,” states that Roche was the R&D spending leader, outlaying nearly $10 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) increased their R&D spend the most between 2012 and 2013, with each adding around $500 million to their respective clinics. Novartis’ R&D spending grew by 5.6% to $9.8 billion, and J&J spent $8.2 billion, which was up by 6.8% from 2012.

Adam Dion, Industry Analyst with GlobalData, says that the increase in R&D spending was partly due to drug makers advancing their pipeline programs into later-stage clinical trials, which are generally more costly.

Dion says, “Roche’s R&D spending was bolstered by continued investments in its oncology and neuroscience therapeutic areas, such as the company’s investigational anti-PD-L1 antibody targeting lung cancer, and the advancement of its programs for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Novartis’ R&D spending grew largely due to its Alcon subsidiary, which allocated additional resources to R&D to develop new eye care products. The company’s Vaccine and Diagnostics products business invested heavily to bring to market its meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero.”

Despite the sector increase in R&D spending, a number of large pharmaceutical firms pulled back on clinical investment in 2013.

The analyst says, “In efforts to improve profit margins, cost-cutting still remains a strategic necessity for some players. Many companies reduced their workforces to help stabilize profits in the aftermath of patent losses.

“Pfizer shaved over $1.2 billion in R&D spend after losing market exclusivity on Lipitor and Caduet, while Merck continued with its multi-year restructuring program, cutting over $600 million from its clinical operations in 2013 after its respiratory therapy Singular saw its patent lapse.”

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