Independents’ day: after their first solo launch, biotechs look to new partnering strategies

How the next wave of independent companies are adapting for long term growth

Having taken their first products to market alone, the new class of independent biotechs face decisions for what to keep and what to change as they seek to build sustainable value as end-to-end companies. One model is to refine their BD strategy, but double down on their approach to physician and patient engagement.

An April analysis by BioCentury found a growing cohort of biotechs is breaking free of the traditional dependence on pharmas to get products over the finish line and onto the market.

The last five years saw a steady rise in the number of biotechs launching their own first commercial products in the U.S., with 73 companies joining the crowd since 2014. Moreover, these companies are making up a larger proportion of FDA approvals, accounting for 27% of the drug launches in 2018 (see “Rise of the Independents: Biotechs Go to Market”).

Among these are biotechs such as Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc., which are bringing first-in-class treatments to patients having developed them in-house. Sage Therapeutics Inc. will join the ranks this year as it prepares to launch the first treatment for postpartum depression, Zulresso brexanolone, which was approved by FDA

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