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Swedish drug development on the rise


Earlier today, SwedenBIO presented its annual report on the Swedish drug discovery and development pipeline, showing for example that the number of clinical stage drug development projects has increased from 63 to 144 in 5 years.

The report provides facts and figures about the current Swedish drug development pipeline for drugs intended for use in humans and serves as a quantitative indicator of the status and progress of Swedish drug pipeline compounds, projects and their characteristics. Its is produced by the Swedish Life Science Industry Organization, SwedenBIO together with collaboration partners Business Sweden, the Swedish Trade and Invest Council, and bulb Intelligence, Business Competitive Intelligence Partner.

In the report, SwedenBIO concludes that this year has been full of activities, both regarding projects and among the different companies. The report has focused on drug development projects that has been tested in clinics (i.e. on humans) and since 2011 the number of these projects has increased from 63 to 144. In addition, the number of companies having projects in clinical trials has increased. In 2011 there were 35 companies and today there are 67.

Some figures from the report

·       No of projects in Phase I: 42, Phase 2: 85 and Phase 3: 17

·       5 companies have initiated their first clinical study

·       6 projects have initiated Phase 3

·       Two Phase 3 studies showed positive results

·       Two applications for authority approval was submitted

·       Four products have been approved on new markets

·       There are 144 Swedish companies developing pharmaceuticals

·       During 2015, 15 new companies were founded

·       During 2015, there were 15 IPOs


Preclinical projects was included

A new addition in this year’s report was that preclinical projects was included. The reason for this is that SwedenBIO has received several inquiries from both intrenational investors and global pharmaceutical companies looking for new projects and collaboration partners. And the trend is that they want to find projects at earlier stages than before. In the report, 225 preclinical projects was found.

Oncology and a Phase 2 hurdle

As previous years the field of oncology dominated, with 43 projects in clinical stages and 60 in preclinical.

Another trend also seen previous years is that there seems to be a hurdle in Phase 2. Some answers to this issue is that there are long lead times and it is expensive. Venture capital is needed and in addition, government-sponsored capital that supports the earlier stages before private players continue is needed.

SwedenBIO hopes that the overhaul of the governmental venture capital will have effect and that a proper part of this money is earmarked for life science companies. The possibility of co-investment with private capital is important in order to attract investors and SwedenBIO hopes that this possibility will be a much needed lever for the companies and hopefully, catalyze an increasing influx of foreign venture capital.