Swedish drug development is moving at full speed

Activity in Swedish drug development continues to increase - for the fifth year in a row. This is according to SwedenBIO's pipeline report for 2016 presented today. A total of 369 research and development projects are underway, including over 100 new cancer treatments.

– There is a significant increase in projects this year. The development is both gratifying and encouraging”, says Sara Gunnerås, responsible for the pipeline report of the industry organization SwedenBIO.

The report The Swedish Drug Discovery and Development Pipeline presents Swedish companies that conduct their own research and development of drugs and their ongoing projects. The report is produced annually and this year 144 companies with main operations in Sweden were identified – almost half of them have projects in clinical phase. This means that the substances are tested on humans.

Since last year, the number of clinical trials, i.e. substances tested in humans, has increased by 37, reaching a peak of 144.

– The increase is happening on several fronts, says Sara Gunnerås. Some companies have started their first clinical trial, while others have brought additional molecules to the clinic. We also see that during the year, new studies are started on molecules that have previously been tested in the clinic and where they are now going further and investigating whether it may be possible with additional indications.

The 2016 pipeline report describes a total of 96 unique molecules that are now being tested in the clinic.

It is not only in the early clinical phases that there is high activity. Six new Phase III projects have been launched during the year and two Phase III projects have shown positive results. Two projects have been submitted for regulatory approval and four have received approval for new markets.

– There seem to be many promising projects that are now well past the first challenging stages. This is gratifying and shows a positive development in all different phases,” says Sara Gunnerås.

Cancer is the area where most development projects are ongoing. A total of 43 clinical projects are being conducted in the field of oncology. The number of preclinical projects brings the figure to 100.

Another large group is orphan drugs. Around 30% of clinical projects are reported to be for rare diseases.

SwedenBIO has noted a growing interest from international investors and global pharmaceutical companies to invest in the projects at an increasingly early stage of development. New this year in the report is a list of all identified projects in both clinical and preclinical phases.

– The trend is that many want to start collaborations early and preferably before projects reach the clinic. Therefore, it is of interest to map this part as well,” says Sara Gunnerås.

For more information, please contact Sara GunneråsPhD, Editor, Director EU Support Office SwedenBIO, 073-040 87 00.