NEW YORK, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. National Institutes of Health
counts nanomedicine as one of its top five priorities, the National Cancer
Institute committed $144 million to nanotechnology research in October 2004,
and 40% of nanotech venture capital since 1998 has gone to life sciences
start-ups. Yet despite nanotechnology's promise in improving how drugs are
developed and delivered, major pharmaceutical companies are committing almost
no money or people to nanotechnology research -- exposing them to strategic
risks, according to a new report from Lux Research entitled "Why Big Pharma Is
Missing the Nanotech Opportunity."
"Nanotech presents many opportunities to pharmaceutical giants, ranging
from better delivery of existing drugs to entirely new therapies based on
nanomaterials," said Lux Research Vice President of Research Matthew M.
Nordan. "But big pharma is not investing in nanotech today. If this trend
continues, nanotech will play out in pharmaceuticals just as biotechnology
did, with major pharmaceutical companies leaving money on the table and
allowing new competitors to take root."
Lux Research bases its conclusions on in-depth interviews conducted with
individuals accountable for nanotechnology at 33 global corporations with
annual revenues exceeding $5 billion. The interview data reveals that:
* No life sciences interviewee rates nanotech as a high corporate
priority, as opposed to 78% of interviewees in electronics and
* Only one out of six life sciences respondents claims to have an
explicit strategy for nanotechnology, compared with two-thirds of
those in other electronics and materials.
* Big pharma companies on average commit 16 people and less than half of
one percent of R&D spending to nanotechnology research, whereas
like-sized electronics and materials firms commit more than 100 people
and more than 8% of R&D.
Lux Research's analysis finds that large drug manufacturers pay little
attention to nanotechnology for three reasons: Organization, history, and
hubris. First, big pharma companies typically entrust accountability for
nanotechnology to an executive responsible for drug discovery, pharma's
biggest cost driver -- but nanotech's big near-term impact is in drug
delivery. Second, big pharma companies learned during the biotech revolution
that they could avoid their own investment and instead in-license drugs from
start-ups at a late stage -- but greater pressure on big pharma's drug
pipelines today gives nanotech start-ups a negotiating advantage. Finally,
many big pharma executives claim they've been "doing nanotech" for years by
developing small-molecule drugs or engineering proteins -- however, few can
claim the materials science expertise that truly novel nanotech innovations
Pharmaceutical companies' laissez-faire attitude towards nanotech will
have consequences. "Big pharma will have to contend with a new wave of
superbranded generics that will erode market share. This trend began with the
approval of American Pharmaceutical Partners' nano-enabled Abraxane cancer
therapy this January," said Nordan. "On the other hand, opportunity exists
for a forward-thinking drug manufacturer to go on the offensive and acquire
competitive capabilities by picking up a nanoscale reformulation specialist,
as mid-cap pharma manufacturer Elan and medical devices leader Baxter already
have. We think Kereos in the U.S., Nanocarrier in Japan, and Solubest in
Israel look like prime targets."
The report provides interview data comparing the nanotech strategy,
staffing, and R&D spending of global life sciences companies versus like-sized
competitors in the electronics and IT sectors, and also profiles 14 start-up
and mid-cap companies developing nanoscale drug delivery technologies. It is
available immediately to clients of Lux Research's Nanotechnology Strategies
advisory service. For information on how to become a client, contact Rob
Burns, Vice President of Sales, at (646) 723-0708.
About Lux Research:
Lux Research is the world's premier research and advisory firm focusing on
the business and economic impact of nanotechnology and related emerging
technologies. Lux Research provides continuous advisory services, customized
consulting, and reference studies to corporations, start-ups, financial
institutions, and public sector organizations. Our founders and our research
staff are the most widely recognized nanotechnology visionaries throughout the
world. Visit http://www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.
SOURCE Lux Research