Page 3: Product portfolio
In the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry, it is essential for AstraZeneca to maintain a product portfolio at the cutting edge of modern medical science. Pharmaceutical companies need to ensure that they always have new products coming through the research and development process to replace older medicines and maintain a competitive, profitable product portfolio.
A company that stays still will not survive for long. Developing a new medicine requires a major commitment of time and resources. The path from discovery of a potentially effective medicine to its launch on the market is a lengthy and complex process and can cost some£500m. At AstraZeneca this is called ‘The Development Pipeline’.
AstraZeneca has a significant number of products in the development stages. At any one time the pipeline will have around 50 projects with many more to follow. At the start of 2000 there were 159 research and development projects, including 57 brand new compounds in the pipeline.
The ambitious targets for AstraZeneca’s research and development teams are to deliver 12 new compounds by the end of 2001 and thereafter 15 new ones every year by the year 2003. The company’s objective is to double the value of its pharmaceutical product portfolio every five years.
It takes approximately 10 to 12 years to bring a brand new drug to the market. Initial laboratory work might identify a new chemical compound that is promising. The structure will be further refined and developed until it is ready for clinical trials. Only a small number of compounds successfully make it to this stage.