The last twelve months have certainly continued to be challenging for anyone working in the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
Venture funding into biotech shrunk from a peak of $53.9 billion in 2021 to $24 billion in 2023 (1), the number of biotech IPOs plummeted (2), and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank that many biotechs relied on sent shock waves through the industry, while also being marked as the second largest bank failure in U.S. history. (3) Even the largest pharmaceutical companies have been affected, with Pfizer announcing $4 billion of cost cuts following plummeting demand for its COVID-19 products. (4) With this backdrop of financial insecurity and rising inflation, all drug development companies have had to rationalize their investments and bring even greater focus on how best to spend their funds to select and advance their molecules through development as quickly as possible.
One major takeaway from 2023 was evident: with the best science, it’s possible to weather the storm and make truly ground-breaking advancements.
After a down year in 2022, the FDA approved 55 novel therapeutics in 2023, just under the largest-ever record of 59 approvals set in 2018. (5) Among them included the world’s first medicine using CRISPR gene editing technology, Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ Casgevy, for the treatment of sickle cell anemia – a step change for the treatment of this disease. (6) Furthermore, positive data was published on GLP1 analogs’ protective effects on the heart, signaling the start of a revolution in the treatment of obesity with huge potential benefits to millions of patients globally.
At Quotient Sciences, we’ve always maintained that the quality of our science is the key to our – and our customers’ – success.
As a reflection of this, this year we have presented over 25 posters and 5 podium presentations at scientific conferences around the world, 4 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and numerous interviews in relevant industry publications. My colleagues presented on topics including 14C drug substance synthesis at the 26th Workshop of the IIS; modified release dosage form development at the Controlled Release Society; and clinical evaluation of a gastro-retentive formulation at AAPS. Data from numerous first-in-human studies was presented at conferences such as ESMO, the European Cystic Fibrosis Conference, and the International Parkinson’s Disease Conference to name a few. Additionally, our team hosted 14 seminars and 8 webinars to demonstrate our expertise through success stories and partnerships with companies including Ensysce Biosciences and Charles River. I am incredibly pleased to see my colleagues sharing their work with the wider scientific community. I’d like to say a huge thank you to them and to our collaborators for taking the time to do so.
What really strikes me is not the number but the variety of subject matter that our team showcased over the past year. The diverse subject matters of these publications reflect our unique Translational Pharmaceutics® platform that integrates conventionally siloed specialisms required to develop medicines. It was a tremendous recognition and reflection of our relentless focus on customer service, quality, and world-class science to be honored as part of the 2023 British Made Awards, the 2023 Pharma Innovation Awards, and the 2023 CDMO Leadership Awards. We support our customers with a breadth of expertise that we believe is unrivaled in the pharma services sector, and our focus on saving both time and cost in the development of medicines is something particularly prescient in the current climate.
Looking back at the year, I’m inspired by the resilience and tenacity with which we achieved these milestones amidst unprecedented challenges.
From drug substance design and custom synthesis, drug product development and manufacturing, through to clinical testing, I am incredibly proud of the science we deliver, and I’m truly excited to see what we will achieve together with our customers and our partners in the coming year.
(1) 48% of biotechs relying on Big Pharma for funding: ICON survey
(2) VC funding trends in biotechnology
(3) The Silicon Valley Bank Collapse Explained
(4) Pfizer shares sink after it resets 2024 COVID expectations
(5) 2023 drug approvals: After a down year, FDA signs off on a bounty of new meds
(6) FDA approves world's first CRISPR-based medicine for sickle cell