By Craig Morgan
Clinical trials are the bridge to medical innovation. Most people don’t think about the origins of the drug they receive or the medical procedures they undergo on a regular basis. Yet every drug, diagnostic test, surgical procedure – medical treatment in any shape or form – finds its origins in a single source: research. Over many years, innovations evolve, graduating through the different stages of development: basic research, translational research, and clinical research. Clinical research is the last critical stage, designed to test the safety and efficacy of new innovations in real patients. Unfortunately, the process of clinical research is not only long and bureaucratic; it is also experiencing diminishing returns. According to a recent study by KPMG, within the pharmaceutical industry, the return on R&D expenditure has fallen from an industry average of approximately 20 percent 20 years ago, to 10 percent now, highlighting the need for greater innovation. Without further innovation, pressures on clinical development – including an aging population, smaller target disease pools, and increased market competition – will only further erode the ROI on research.