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Lessons learned from the fate of AstraZeneca's drug pipeline: a five-dimensional framework

  • Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 13, 419431 (2014)
  • doi:10.1038/nrd4309
  • Download Citation
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Abstract

Maintaining research and development (R&D) productivity at a sustainable level is one of the main challenges currently facing the pharmaceutical industry. In this article, we discuss the results of a comprehensive longitudinal review of AstraZeneca's small-molecule drug projects from 2005 to 2010. The analysis allowed us to establish a framework based on the five most important technical determinants of project success and pipeline quality, which we describe as the five 'R's: the right target, the right patient, the right tissue, the right safety and the right commercial potential. A sixth factor — the right culture — is also crucial in encouraging effective decision-making based on these technical determinants. AstraZeneca is currently applying this framework to guide its R&D teams, and although it is too early to demonstrate whether this has improved the company's R&D productivity, we present our data and analysis here in the hope that it may assist the industry overall in addressing this key challenge.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank S. Curran, J. Curwen, U. Eriksson, G. Johnston, R. Maciewicz, J. Munroe, M. Needham, P. Newham, W. Redfern, M. Snowden, F. Tierney, J.-P. Valentin and J. Waterton for their help in producing and reviewing this manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. AstraZeneca, Innovative Medicines and Early Development, Alderley Park, Macclesfield SK10 4TG, UK.

    • David Cook
    • , Dearg Brown
    • , Ruth March
    • , Paul Morgan
    • , Gemma Satterthwaite
    •  & Menelas N. Pangalos
  2. AstraZeneca, Innovative Medicines & Early Development, 141 Portland Street, 10th Floor Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

    • Robert Alexander

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Competing interests

All authors are employees and shareholders of AstraZeneca.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Menelas N. Pangalos.