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Clinical Insider
Clinical Insider

Trial activity, R&D spending soar in 2022, but diversity issues remain

Posted by on 25 April 2023
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A decline in COVID-19 related trial work was more than offset by a surge in drug studies, spending and successful completions last year according to market analysis.

The research – by US clinical research organization (CRO) IQVIA – showed that using 2019 as the pre-pandemic baseline, there was an increase of 8% in trial activity in 2022. And more studies were completed successfully with a 27% increase in clinical development productivity.

According to IQVIA’s “Clinical Development Productivity Index — a composite metric of success rates, clinical trial complexity and trial duration — productivity rebounded last year with success rates improving.

The authors suggested “productivity enablers”, including novel trials designs and remote, virtual, or decentralized trials, are playing an increasing role in the biopharma clinical development pipeline.

Overall drug R&D investment was also higher with the 15 largest pharmaceutical companies spending $138 billion in 2022, up 1.7% from the previous year.

The findings are representative of the trial sector’s recovery since the height of the pandemic says Murray Aitken, executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science.

“There were a number of uplifting trends in global research and development in 2022. The global R&D ecosystem demonstrated impressive resilience during the continued pandemic with a relatively high level of clinical trial activity.

“We also witnessed a significant rebound in clinical development productivity, driven by dropping trial complexity and a record level of expenditure by the largest pharmaceutical companies in 2022.”

The increase in R&D funding reflects a rebound in biopharmaceutical industry funding which reached $60.8 billion just above 2019 thanks to IPOs, secondary offerings, and venture capital investment.

Diversity decline

While IQVIA’s findings suggest the clinical trial sector weathered the worst of the pandemic and has regained its momentum, the research did highlight some areas of concern.

For example, clinical trials carried out in 2022 were less diverse than in previous years – with black, African American and Hispanic patient representation in trials continuing the down trajectory it has been on since 2012.

The decline underlines that “more work needs to be done to improve diversity and inclusion of underrepresented populations in clinical trials” Aitken said.


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