Drug-use software aids may siphon development funds

Positive signs of the cost and time benefits of adaptive trial designs may be arriving just in time. Healthcare reform promises to deliver a big blow to drug developers. But it may also boost investor interest in software that supports the prescribers and consumers of drugs.

Financial risk will rise beyond historic levels, says Deloitte's Sanjay Behl. Development efforts that yielded something less than a blockbuster could still earn some money for the drugmaker. But not so post-healthcare reform. "The 'singles' are gone now, or they become highly restrictive. My only option will be to go after those grand slams," he says in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Research will migrate in-house at big pharma companies and research universities, he says, because they are better able to assume the financial risk than small biotechs. Watch for big pharma mergers across the life sciences, yielding drug-device and drug-diagnostic pairings.

Venture capital will move away from drug discovery and development, according to Behl. Next stop for investors: companies working on better ways to deliver drugs and software products that help improve patient and doctor use of drugs.

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