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The top Phase III R&D setbacks of 2013

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The stats on Phase III success rates aren't good. About half end in failure--and that's after developers have had a chance to do some careful testing in humans. It's no wonder, then, that late-stage failures continue to inflict some punishing damage on the world's largest R&D organizations--which in most cases are still laboring to overcome the arrival of the patent cliff.

I've singled out what I consider the most significant Phase III setbacks of the year (so far). They were selected not just because they damaged or destroyed estimates on peak sales, but because they also reflected on the companies involved, influenced their research strategies or raised questions about a disease initiative that had grabbed the attention of everyone in the field.

It doesn't always seem possible, but failure doesn't have to be solely negative. The best organizations learn from their high-profile failures and the setbacks of others. What's amazing is how often failure is still immediately shoved out of public view, and how easy it is to convince analysts it was either really a success or completely unimportant. The wake-up call on R&D came long ago, but some groups are still fast asleep. -- John Carroll, Editor-in-Chief. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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