A study published by global consultancy EY on Monday shows that last year the bulk of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies focused on the development of anti-cancer drugs. A total of 2,586 active agents were reported to be in the stage of clinical development while "only" 605 anti-virus agents reached the same phase in 2019.
During the same time, cancer-related activities secured the biggest revenues for Big Pharma. Companies were able to boost their turnover by one-fifth last year to €174 billion ($196 billion), also driven by big blockbuster drugs generating revenues of at least $1 billion each. Medication for the treatment of infections accounted for "only" €46 billion in revenues in 2019.
" The largest pharmaceutical firms are unlikely to stop their long-term programs and will hardly focus solely on COVID-19." Siegfried Bialojan, head of the EY Life Science Center in Mannheim, Germany, says the reason for this is simple. "Pandemics are not predictable as a business factor, because you just don't know when and in which form they may occur."
With COVID-19 "There are too many imponderables right now and too much insecurity, meaning that potential buyers and sellers really don't see eye to eye on the transaction price." says Alexander Nuyken, EY's head of Life Science, Transaction Advisory for Europe, Middle East, India & Africa. "We estimate that 97% of the vaccines being tested right now will not be approved, meaning that a lot of companies will just have burned big amounts of R&D money at the end of the day."