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Dennis Lendrem
Dennis Lendrem
MSc in Medical Statistics, PhD from Oxford. Background in Pharmaceutical R&D. Contributor to popular magazines and trade magazines including Scrip Magazine, New Scientist and the Economist. Formerly Editor of the journal Pharmaceutical Statistics.
Posted in Business / Industries / Pharmaceuticals

Fast-Fail and False Positives

Feb. 23, 2012 1:32 pm

Fast Fail strategies work by rapidly clearing the development pipeline of marginal products releasing development resources to focus on more promising products (Lendrem, 1995).

The Quick-Kill model demonstrates that Fast Fail strategies will:

  • shorten the expected time to market, even as the cycle time for successful projects increases (the Development Speed Paradox)
  • increase development throughput, even as development speed decreases (the M25 Effect)
  • reduce development costs, even as the burn rate in early development increases (see R&D Savings) and
  • do all this, even as the rate of false negatives - killing projects that would have been successful - increases (see Quick-Kill Rides Again)

But what about false positives?

False positives - advancing products that should be killed - are an absolute "chuffing" disaster.

False positives can be modelled In just the same way that we modelled false negatives in Quick-Kill Rides Again. Very quickly the advantage of a fast fail approach falls apart in the face of false positives. As the rate of false positives increases the fast fail strategy becomes as awful as the traditional development strategy.

Put it like that though and maybe it doesn't sound as worrying as it might!

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