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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 Strategies: Reducing Late-Stage Failures in R&D

Mar. 25, 2012 12:02 pm

Fast-Fail strategies first arose in R&D in the pharmaceutical industry during the early 1990s.

At that time the prevailing thinking was that increasing development speed would reduce time to market. And reducing time to market would in turn maximize the patent-protected lifetime of products.

This thinking led to a rash of development speed initiatives.

However, these development speed initiatives focused on those products that made it to market. They ignored the vast majority of products that never saw the light of day. As a result the industry became really slick at delivering late-stage failures to the market place.

The industry became really slick at delivering late-stage failures to the market place.

Development speed initiatives had essentially ignored the stochastic nature of the development process.

In fact, futility theory demonstrates that simply maximising development speed while ignoring the high attrition rates in research and development will:

  • increase the expected time to market
  • increase the expected cost per market launch
  • increase the number of late stage failures
  • reduce the number of new products launched per $bn R&D
  • reduce the rate of new products launched each year per $bn R&D

In contrast, the Fast-Fail strategies seek to identify early in the development process those products that will not make it to market.

Fast-Fail strategies focus on reducing the attrition rate even if they mean a reduction in development speed.

And in its strong form, the Development Speed Paradox states that the faster the development speed, the longer the expected time to market.

In contrast, Fast-Fail strategies focusing on reducing attrition rates will:

  • reduce the expected time to market
  • reduce the expected cost per market launch
  • reduce the number of late stage failures
  • increase the number of new products launched per $bn R&D
  • increase the rate of new products launched each year per $bn R&D

Simples.

Useful Links:

Killing The Golden Goose

More Haste, Less Speed

 
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