New Centre for Medicines Research Report from Clarivate Indicates Drug Development Timelines are Shortest Since 2013

Pharmaceutical R&D industry report provides insights into what’s behind decline in global NME outputs and reveals implications of decreased projected expenditures

London, U.K., September 24, 2020Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CCC), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, today announced the release of the 2020 Centre for Medicines Research (CMR) International Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook. The factbook reveals a decrease in R&D spending for the first time since 2016. While previous predictions for 2022 expenditure exceeded $86 billion, this year, 2022 expenditure is forecasted to reach $80 billion, with new factors such as COVID-19 impacting drug development.

The Centre for Medicines Research, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clarivate, has released the report to help Pharma and Biotech companies assess R&D productivity and provide insights into industry trends which will inform drug development efforts. It provides insights on R&D expenditures, cycle times, pipeline growth and more to allow Pharma and Biotech companies to access and analyze success rates and key activities from drug discovery through commercialization – enabling the establishment of reliable internal KPIs along the entire drug development lifecycle.

The 2020 CMR International Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook reveals drug development continues to be complex, challenging and time consuming. The burden of existing diseases and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which has threatened global public health and the global economy more than any other event in recent history, has also had an impact on drug development. While inroads have been made to tackle these complex communicable and non-communicable diseases, delivering new treatments in an accelerated and cost-efficient manner remains a significant challenge. Key findings include:

  • Drug development times have decreased from 14.5 years on average in 2010 to 10.2 years in 2019 – the lowest it’s been since 2013. Pharma and Biotech companies continue to hone their R&D strategies in those areas that tend to be the limiting factor in R&D cycle time, such as patient enrollment.[1]
  • Overall, new molecular entity (NME) launches have slowed for the first time since 2016 with a 22% drop in launches from 2018. China and Japan have increased NME launches by 11% since 2017 whereas the US has decreased NME launches by 25%. US-based companies are increasingly adjusting their R&D strategies toward drug repurposing efforts.[2]
  • The number of lead projects in development in 2019 for first launch have decreased in pipeline size across oncology, cardiovascular, nervous system and other therapy areas. Musculoskeletal and respiratory saw the largest pipeline decreases with 21% and 22% decreases respectively.[3]

The report indicates Pharma and Biotech companies are increasingly focusing their R&D efforts on the most promising drug programs before they reach clinical trials by learning from competitors’ experiences and targeting relevant patient populations.

Mukhtar Ahmed, President, Science Group, Clarivate, said: “Now more than ever, pharma and biotech companies are focused on developing life-saving therapies as quickly and safely as possible while managing the ever-increasing complexity of drug development. For several years and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, biopharmaceutical companies have and continue to declare a unifying position on drug development and quality standards.”

He continued, “We are seeing increased collaboration between large (Market cap of > USD 8 bn – 100 bn) pharmaceutical and smaller niche biopharmaceuticals, with the rate of growth of collaborations jumping 15% since 2010. We also see China moving away from generics and into innovative drug development. However, the biopharmaceuticals industry is being driven by an aging portfolio, which could have long-term consequences. In an industry where success depends on objective, actionable data analysis and insights, CMR programs are an objective source of critical R&D and clinical data that the world’s leading companies rely on for performance evaluation and decision making.”

The analysis featured within the 2020 CMR International Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook is derived from proprietary, anonymized data gathered from more than 25 leading Pharma and Biotech companies of all sizes and therapy areas. The data and insights apply unique depth and historical context to uncover reliable industry trends, set against the changing marketplace, enabling more strategic decision-making and informing the accelerated development of life-saving therapies.

To learn more about the 2020 Centre for Medicines Research (CMR) International Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook, visit

CMR International is the world’s most reputable source of industry metrics and trends analysis. Experience, independence and integrity paired with dedication to providing industry leading data, insights and opinions, make CMR International the partner of choice for the world’s major pharmaceutical innovators. CMR International is distinguished by its unique ability to collect, validate and analyze industry-wide proprietary R&D performance metrics, using a proven and secure process. This capability enables CMR International to provide partners with readily accessible information designed to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their R&D operations. As a result, CMR International is the world’s most authoritative source of pharmaceutical R&D performance metrics, facts and trends. To learn more about CMR International visit





About Clarivate

Clarivate™ is a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation. We offer subscription and technology-based solutions coupled with deep domain expertise that cover the entire lifecycle of innovation – from foundational research and ideas to protection and commercialization. Today, we’re setting a trail-blazing course to help customers turn bold ideas into life-changing inventions. Our portfolio consists of some of the world’s most trusted information brands, including the Web of Science™, Cortellis™, Derwent™, CompuMark™, MarkMonitor™ and Techstreet™. For more information please visit




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Catherine Daniel



[1] “Development time for new molecular entities first launched onto the world market 2010-2019” Source: Global NME First Launches Programme

[2] “Number of new molecular entities first launched onto the world market 2010-2019 by company size” and “Region of first launch for new molecular entities 2010-2019” Source: Global NME First Launches Programme

[3] “Change in number of lead projects in development for first launch between 2016-2018 by therapeutic area” Source: Global R&D Performance Metrics Programme

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