Biotech Products in Big Pharma Clinical Pipelines Have Grown Dramatically, According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

November 15, 2013

Large Molecules Currently Represent a Dominant Share of Sales

BOSTON - Nov. 14, 2013 - The pharmaceutical industry, especially Big Pharma, has dramatically shifted its R&D focus from its historical concentration on small molecule drugs to include a rapidly increasing number of biotechnology products, according to a newly completed analysis from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.

Tufts CSDD found that biotech products, which accounted for only 7% of revenue generated by the 10 top selling pharmaceutical-biotech products worldwide in 2001, accounted for 71% of the 10 top selling products in 2012.

The transformation of Big Pharma has been driven as much by new technologies that have enabled development of new products that improve disease outcomes and command high prices, as by the expiring patents on many top-selling small molecule drugs, according to Tufts CSDD Director Kenneth I Kaitin.

Helping to drive that evolution has been the development of novel technology platforms over the last three decades, which has spurred an extensive pipeline of products across a wide range of therapeutic areas, he said. In 1989, for example, only 13 biotechnology products were commercially available. By 2012, that number had grown to 210.

"The notion that large pharmaceutical companies primarily develop small molecule drugs no longer holds," Kaitin said.

The analysis, reported in the November/December Tufts CSDD Impact Report, released today, also found that:

  • The number of biotech products in clinical trials grew 155% in 11 years, from 355 in 2001 to 907 in 2012, with Big Pharma in 2012 engaged in about 40% of all biotech products in clinical development.
  • Financing of biotech research increased nearly 10-fold in a decade, from $10.5 billion in 2001 to $103 billion in 2012.
  • Worldwide growth in biotechnology product sales grew 353% between 2001 and 2012, from $36 billion to $163 billion.

The study, which examined R&D, pipeline, and sales data for three specific time points-2002, 2007, and 2012- was conducted by Ronald Evens, adjunct faculty and biotechnology consultant with Tufts CSDD.


The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development ( at Tufts University provides strategic information to help drug developers, regulators, and policy makers improve the quality and efficiency of pharmaceutical development, review, and utilization. Tufts CSDD, based in Boston, conducts a wide range of in-depth analyses on pharmaceutical issues and hosts symposia, workshops, and public forums, and publishes Tufts CSDD Impact Reports, a bi-monthly newsletter providing analysis and insight into critical drug development issues.


Membership Deliverables

MassBio Membership gives you:

Purchasing power-MassBio negotiates a broad-based collection of services on behalf of member companies and passes the savings on to its members. 

Networking and professional development-MassBio organizes and executes numerous conferences, committee meetings, and networking events throughout the year.

MassBio Signature Events-Attend our Investors Forum, Innovator Roundtables, Pharma Days, our Golf Classic Fundraiser, Policy Leadership Breakfast, and many others.

Public policy & Advocacy-As the state's leading advocate for our life science super cluster, we fight for public policy initiatives and tax incentives in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., that will enable biotechnology companies to do their best work.

Economic development-MassBio provides expert advice and guidance to help companies find suitable locations and resources as they move to and grow in the Bay State. We make Massachusetts a better place for your business.

Visibility/Resources-Members are listed on a searchable directory that includes a profile and link to the company's website. We highlight your company's latest news by posting to our MassBio member news page. In addition, members can post job openings on our website free!

Educational incentives-We promote education, workforce development and lifelong learning through the MassBioEd Foundation. The foundation customizes training programs for companies and educational institutions and promotes science in the classroom through BioTeach. MassBio members receive a discount on courses offered by the foundation.