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In the course of our work advising biopharma companies, we are often asked how they can bring medicines to market more quickly and cost efficiently. It’s a timely question.

It can take 10 to 15 years and cost between $2.6 billion and $6.7 billion — including the cost of capital and the cost of failure — to bring a successful medicine to market, depending on therapeutic area, treatment modality, and disease complexity. While the biopharma industry continues to innovate — look no further than its speedy response to Covid-19 — those costs and timelines are no longer sustainable.


The industry is at an inflection point. Investment in research and development (R&D) is increasing while productivity is declining. Among the top 40 biopharma companies, R&D spending increased from $189 billion in 2019 to $199 billion in 2020, according to an analysis conducted by our company, Accenture.

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